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Coalition calls for Allen County commissioners to invest in addiction, mental health prevention


The community coalition “Help Not Handcuffs” is holding its first public meeting Saturday in an effort to urge county commissioners to invest in prevention and community care for drug addiction and mental illness, while divesting from incarceration of low-level offenses.

On March 31, a U. S. District Judge in Fort Wayne ordered Allen County Sheriff David Gladieux and the Allen County Commissioners to reduce the population of the jail by May 15. The order came as the result of a class-action lawsuit filed by the ACLU contesting conditions in the jail, including overcrowding.

The coalition says commissioners are only addressing the symptoms of overcrowding and not the issue of over-incarceration.

Help Not Handcuffs is a coalition of mental health providers, pastors, business owners, formerly incarcerated people and other community leaders.

At the meeting, they will be unveiling a petition that will be sent to the commissioners. The meeting will be from 3 to 5 PM on Saturday at New Zion Tabernacle Church.

Ella Abbott is a multimedia reporter for 89.1 WBOI. She is a strong believer in the ways audio storytelling can engage an audience and create a sensory experience.
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