On the House's condemnation of Trump's tweets, and the mentally ill continuously being incarcerated.

Cheers to the House condemning Trump’s remarks as racist

Tuesday, the House condemned Trump’s tweet telling four Democratic congresswomen to go back to their own countries as “racist comments that have legitimized increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.” Cheers to the House for standing up against Trump’s clearly racist comment.

Over the past two and a half years of Trump’s presidency, it seems like there has been a new outrage every week. Sexual assault accusations, racist and sexist tweets and comments, false claims paired with insistences that the media is “fake news” and more... Each seemed to be forgotten as the next scandal erupted. However, this time, Trump may have gone too far.

With his insistence that four female women of color should return to their own countries, when all four are U.S. citizens and only one was born in another country, he makes it clear that his vision of America is white, and anyone who doesn’t fit his vision doesn’t belong.

The House’s condemnation of the tweet marks this comment as one that needs to be remembered and denounced, beyond a week’s time of outrage.

– Maddie Everett, Times Intern

Jeers to the mentally ill being repeatedly incarcerated

It happens right here in Minnesota, right here in Polk County and right here in Crookston. The mentally ill being repeatedly incarcerated with little or no mental health help, or not enough for their needs.

According to National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), two million people with mental illness are booked into jails each year and nearly 15 percent of men and 30 percent of women booked into jails have a serious mental health condition.

When the Times visits the Court Administration office to look up court files based on the arrest reports sent by the Northwest Regional Corrections Center (NWRCC) in Crookston, they often find repeats of people who are arrested for “disorderly conduct” or “contempt of court.” Most often it involves the types of people that desperately need mental health help. NAMI also says that many people, after leaving jail, no longer have access to needed healthcare and benefits plus a criminal record often makes it hard for individuals to get a job or housing.

Is this where the system is failing the mentally ill? Should the city, county or state provide more opportunity to divert some of these repeat offenders to treatment and services rather than incarceration? Easy to say, harder to do.

NAMI is a partner in “The Stepping Up Initiative” campaign to challenge counties to reduce the number of people with mental illness in jails. It might be a good time for Polk County, who already partners with the Northwestern Mental Health Center and Polk County Public Health, to also consider joining the campaign alongside the almost 20 other counties in Minnesota.

NWRCC currently has 140 inmates, according to their July 17 Inmate Roster. How many of these people are getting the mental health help they need?

– Jess Bengtson, Assistant Editor