Practically speaking, the state has been merely warehousing our most vulnerable citizens and tin cupping the expense needed to perform this function adequately.
Our legislators have no problem prioritizing. But unfortunately, those priorities appear to be set by the well-financed or by groups who can benefit legislators the most in their re-election. For instance, we have no problems dealing with such “urgent needs” as unionizing day care providers or building stadiums for the wealthy. They legislate under the auspices of helping the residents of Minnesota.
But they should feel shame in this flagrant negligence shown toward our most vulnerable. They have continually disregarded funding the services necessary for the mentally ill in our state, and not just those in our state-run facilities.
We lack funding for comprehensive care in our counties. We lack statewide crisis intervention training for law enforcement. We have sheriffs warning that jails continue to be used as treatment centers for the mentally ill. So the need is known. The solutions outlined. Lawmakers just lack the resolve.
We need legislative champions for the disenfranchised, not for the most powerful. We need a government that, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, “exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors.”