Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mentally ill, addicts should not suffer in prison

    This letter is written in regard to your article “Sun Valley woman dies at Boise prison” by Terry Smith in last Wednesday’s newspaper. While I don’t know her entire story, I did have an occasion to meet Darcie Olsen at her booth at the Farmers’ Market in Hailey, where she was selling handbags made from recycled plastic grocery bags. We chatted, we talked. She was very creative and was marketing her crafts in other communities. So, when I read this story, I felt compelled to comment.
    Congratulations to her defense attorney for breaking the stigma of mental illness as well as codependency on substance abuse, and the judge was correct that people who commit crimes in our society need to be held accountable; however, my sadness is, “Why put a person with mental illness or addictions in jail when we don’t place people living with heart conditions or cancer in jail as a form of ‘treatment.’”
    This is yet another tragedy related to someone from our community that could have been avoided.
Gail Marguerite Wray
Sun Valley


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