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.”