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Lawmakers address crime and public safety at hearing

State lawmakers met May 2 to address the root causes of crime and improve public safety.

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — Pennsylvania's Senate Majority Policy Committee held a crime and public safety hearing on May 2 to discuss the root causes of crime and improve public safety throughout the Commonwealth.

Treating mental illness and addiction was a major topic through the hearing as a range of experts in law enforcement and public health traded ideas on how best to handle these complex issues. 

Police officials reported officers respond to a high number of crimes committed by people living with mental illness and other crimes related to drug addiction.

 Fentanyl, a highly addictive and dangerous opioid, has begun to replace heroin as the most common drug in central Pennsylvania, according to reports from officers.

Policy makers expressed a desire for more treatment options within the criminal justice system.

“The ones that need the help, that are in jail, shouldn't be there,” said State Sen. Mario Scavello (R-Monroe). “This is the perfect place to build a first-class hospital, in the middle of the state, where we can get some of these folks out of jail and get them the services they need.”

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