Editorial: Consider issues separately

December 19, 2017. Lawrence Journal-World.

If Douglas County does decide to pursue a mental health crisis center, any bond issue to fund the center should be presented separately from a proposal to build a new county jail.

A plan for a mental health campus was presented to Douglas County commissioners last week. The site is north of the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center along West Second Street and northeast of Lawrence Memorial Hospital. The campus would provide three tiers of housing for people experiencing mental health crises:

Charleston to hire new firm to audit police department, a move interfaith group begged for

November 28, 2017. The Post and Courier.

The city of Charleston is heeding the call of the Charleston Area Justice Ministry to find a new firm to audit its police department.

The city hired Novak Consulting of Cincinnati earlier this year to audit multiple city departments to improve their performance, a scope of work that included a review of the police department. Members of the local interfaith group have argued repeatedly at City Council meetings that the firm doesn’t have enough experience identifying potentially racially-biased police practices.

On Tuesday, Charleston City Council approved a decision made by the Public Safety Committee to remove the police audit from Novak’s contract and begin searching for a new firm to do the job.

Charleston Public Safety Committee agrees to start over on police audit

November 27, 2017. Charleston City Paper.

Activists walked out of City Hall feeling vindicated on Monday morning after the Public Safety Committee voted unanimously to remove a police department audit from Novak Consulting’s task list.

Novak Consulting was hired in February to conduct a performance audit of all city operations, as reported in February. The city-wide audit was a key vow of Mayor John Tecklenburg’s campaign. But civil rights and social justice advocates have repeatedly painted the firm as too inexperienced to gauge the intricacies of racial bias.

Justice Knox Follows Micah’s Directive To Be Community Organizer

November 22, 2017. Patch.com

KNOXVILLE, TN — They call themselves Justice Knox. They live by Micah’s words: “Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly.” They are the parishioners of 20 Knoxville churches–black and white, rich and poor–who have come together to speak directly to local government officials about how they believe problems in the community should be addressed.

The issues they speak about are selected by asking each other to identify the most important problems and then doing in-depth research as to what solutions should be recommended. Working on an academic year calendar, last April they asked law enforcement to look at how they dealt with the mentally ill and the school system to commit to how it dealt with students who had behavioral problems.

Offenders told they still have a chance to change as part of plan to end killings

November 11, 2017. The Columbus Dispatch.

“You’ve got to pay attention to this. You’ve got to be awake for this,” Fred Benton, a defense attorney, told them. “The law is looking for you.”

A group of 16 people saw the Franklin County Common Pleas courtroom from a unique vantage point Thursday.

Each is on probation for violent or gun-related crimes. About half have affiliations to criminal street gangs. Many knew someone who had been shot and, in some cases, killed.

The two women and 14 men of varying age and race and from various parts of the city sat in the jury box with a different fate to weigh — their own. Each still has a chance.