Issacs: Tucsonans desires a holistic method to security, not an even bigger jail

Caroline Isaacs is the chief director of Simply Communities Arizona,
an Arizona-based nonprofit that works to create, foster and useful resource new
fashions for security and justice outdoors the present system of
criminalization and incarceration.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors will quickly be offered with a proposal to construct a brand new, larger county jail, with a price ticket of almost $400 million. That is the second when our county management should determine whether or not it’s going to prioritize investing in our communities or locking them up.

Our group, Simply Communities Arizona, has a good suggestion of the selection Tucsonans need them to make.

Final 12 months, JCA carried out a survey of individuals throughout town of Tucson asking a couple of vary of quality-of-life points, together with housing, schooling, jobs and public security. Greater than 1,200 of you—our neighbors—responded to the Reimagining Group Security survey, which was partly funded by town.

What the survey revealed is that Tucsonans are deeply troubled about housing and homelessness. When requested the place they need sources invested to create better neighborhood security, inexpensive housing topped the listing, chosen by 52.1 p.c of respondents. And homelessness was their major neighborhood concern, topping all different points that Tucson faces.

The survey additionally revealed that Tucsonans don’t view regulation enforcement as an answer to the issues they face. Simply 4 p.c acknowledged that they need “extra police” of their communities. And completely nobody requested for a brand new, larger county jail.

Maybe it is because a rising proportion of our households have personally been impacted by incarceration and criminalization. Almost 40 p.c of respondents reported that they or a liked one or member of the family have been arrested or incarcerated. Many people have witnessed first-hand the adverse impacts of an enforcement-only method to security. We all know that the basis causes of crime are sophisticated and nuanced—habit, psychological sickness and trauma. Incarceration doesn’t repair these issues; it exacerbates them.

Tucson residents know the best options. When our survey requested, “What sources would you wish to see extra of in your neighborhood?” the highest responses had been:

  1. inexpensive housing (52.1 p.c)
  2. inexpensive and accessible medical/psychological care (37.4 p.c)
  3. higher resourced faculties (27 p.c)

Equally, members recognized the three most vital options for lowering racial and socio-economic inequities as:

  1. community-centered options to incarceration (44 p.c)
  2. extra accessible psychological well being and substance abuse companies (39 p.c)
  3. extra inexpensive housing (36 p.c)

The outcomes of the Reimagining Group Security survey clearly exhibit that Tucson residents acknowledge the significance of addressing folks’s primary wants as a part of a holistic method to security. Within the survey, we instructed our management what we would like: Inexpensive housing, high quality schooling, accessible well being care and resourced communities. Not a brand new jail.

Think about the constructive impression of a $400 million funding in what Tucsonans really need in an effort to be safer and more healthy. Let’s hope for all our sakes that the board chooses an modern path ahead over the identical previous investments in ineffective establishments.