Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: veterans


Our 2010 agenda for community action

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Human needs, education should be top priorties

Yes, The News Tribune’s editorial board does have an agenda. And here it is.

The guiding principles behind our editorials are no secret. We publish them at the beginning of January, each and every year.

This civic agenda is our way of emphasizing priorities we consider essential to the health of the South Sound’s communities.

It evolves each year to reflect changing circumstances, but the underlying principles largely remain the same: educational opportunity, responsive and responsible government, the protection of natural resources, help for the hurting. No region can prosper if such fundamentals are neglected.

The dawn of a new year is a fitting occasion to take stock of the progress made in the last 12 months and set sights for the coming year.

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A drug court for Tacoma’s veterans

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Drug court is one of the best ideas ever to hit Pierce County’s criminal justice system. It’s just been joined by another great idea: veterans drug court.

The county’s drug court – one of the nation’s first, in 1994 – operates on the premise that treating addicts instead of merely jailing them works better for everyone. Substance-abusers accused of drug- or alcohol-connected crimes – small-time trafficking, theft, drunk driving, for example – must voluntarily opt in. They waive their right to a trial and accept the maximum sentence for their offense.

The sentence is then suspended on condition they follow a strict regimen designed to break their addiction: treatment, participation in group meetings, random urine tests, avoidance of any criminal activity. The Pierce County Alliance runs the treatment side of things.

If they fail, they get the book thrown at them. If they succeed, the charge is dismissed. Studies have shown the program to be much more effective than jail in preventing relapses and further crimes, and saving the taxpayers’ money.

The veterans’ drug court, announced last week, is being launched with the help of a three-year, $900,000 grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. The new program will be able to tap into the treatment and health resources of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
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