A dereliction of duty

Dear Editor:

This letter is addressed to the Hancock County Commissioners.

Dear Hancock County Commissioners:

Like many others in Hancock County, I was shocked to learn this morning that Sheriff [Scott] Kane decided to cut off addiction counseling services at the county jail in June, and that there still is no such peer counseling in place, seven months later.

As we’re all aware, addiction is tied to recidivism, and one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce crime in our community is to provide addiction support and peer counselling to inmates before they are released, since initiating counseling post-release is far less successful.

The sheriff’s actions have made Hancock County less safe and must be reversed immediately. Healthy Acadia is willing to reinstate services. Please ensure that this happens without delay!

Sheriff Kane stated that his rationale for cutting off these services was because Healthy Acadia affirmed Black lives matter and that police brutality is wrong. These are not controversial statements, and were made based on public health research, showing that racial inequality and ethnic disparities in policing are considerable public health concerns in America. This is Healthy Acadia’s area of work, and its mission. The statement was factual and relevant to its work. Sheriff Kane, on the other hand, asserted that the Black Lives Matter movement is a terrorist organization and advocates the overthow of the government. These ideas are not supported by fact. If the sheriff’s unfounded ideas about national politics result in his inability to work with public health agencies here in our county, then he should be encouraged to resign.

The sheriff should have community safety as his top job priority. Kane has failed in that regard by letting his personal interpretations about national issues interfere with a straightforward administrative obligation of his job — reducing recidivism among county inmates.

Now the sheriff must decide if he’ll correct his obvious mistake and apologize. Commissioners, I hope you’ll pass a resolution urging him to do so immediately. Our community’s safety depends on it.

Nate Hanson



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