Pubdate: Thu, 24 Feb 2005
Source: Courier-Journal, The (KY)
Copyright: 2005 The Courier-Journal
Author: Patrick McKiernan
Note: Only publishes local LTEs


Operation UNITE proposes to reduce access to chemicals used to make
methamphetamine. Unfortunately, it also calls for mandatory sentencing
for those making meth in the same house where children live.

Consider the implications of such a law. Children in the grasp of
addiction suffer enormous indignities and have the least power to
change their circumstances. Why would we pass a law that could leave
children parentless and thinking if they hadn't been home, mom or dad
would be here? Recovering addicts often report in retrospect that they
never thought they would put their children at risk.

Operation UNITE will throw children from one bad situation into
another. Children get a sentence right along with the parent. Only the
most fortunate overcome this kind of family system destruction. Some
follow their parent's footsteps right into prison. This is not the way
to address the problem.

The current proposal could mark a place in history with a small but
meaningful change. Sentence violators to two years or more of
mandatory family treatment, overseen by family drug court. Removing
the drugs and the drug user is not enough; we must heal the family.

The financial savings by not incarcerating parents are needed, but
more than that, it would provide a way to truly UNITE a family. It is
my hope that these words will reach those who will see this as an
opportunity to make a good idea even better.

Patrick McKiernan

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