Catholic Bishop Urges “Speak Up for Marriage”


Recently the bishop of Shrewsbury spoke up staunchly in favor of the union of marriage and urged his congregation to do the same, during a homily delivered on February 15th. Providing some compelling arguments in favor of holy matrimony, the Rt Rev. Mark Davies spoke before a mass for married couples at St. Columba’s Church recently, contending that the increasingly taboo subject of marriage was damaging to society.

The Bishop implored his congregants, comprised of married couples celebrating a range of anniversaries, some celebrating up to 65 years of marriage to one another, to speak up in favor of marriage and to support it. Bishop Davies called upon the Church to, “rebuild a culture of the family based on marriage.” He pointed out that teachers are often now afraid to teach the traditional marriage model to students, in part as a measure of respect to students’ backgrounds, but due in large to the trepidation and taboo nature that marriage has adopted as of late, according to Davies.

Davies elaborated further, stressing the urgency of the issue, contending that,”the Church may well find herself amongst the last voices in society whole-heartedly speaking for the family based on the strong foundation of the lasting, life-giving, faithful union of one man and one woman.” Davies explains that the breakdown of families is not only financially but socially harmful to our society as a whole, but more specifically for young people who are experiencing and being shaped by splitting families. Davies even addressed the shifting landscape in politics, urging our political leaders to hold true to the values of the traditional family model.

The message is really driven home as the mass was held before a wide range of couples, who’s combined years of marriage was said to total over 2,500 years cumulatively, really highlighting a poignant note about the age old institution of marriage. You can read the full copy of Bishop Davies’ sermon here.

Via: Independent Catholic News

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New Government Reforms Prove Highly Effective in Dropping Juvenile Detention Rates


According to a new report, there are now statistics to prove that with the constructive mixture of both dropping crime rates and new reforms posed to the juvenile criminal justice system over the last few years, the number of minors and juveniles in state prisons across the country is beginning to significantly decrease. The report, focuses primarily on Texas as the example, however data will confirm that nearly all 50 states are experiencing the same decreases in juvenile prison populations. Compiled and published by the Council of State Governments Justice Center, the report delves into the marginal improvements to Texas’ battle with high juvenile detention and re-offense rates beginning in 2007, with similar improvements shown in states such as Connecticut, Louisiana, and Arizona among others.

In a series of tactical moves within the prison system’s infrastructure, Texas has been able to dramatically drop the number of detained minors and have been able to successfully curb the amount of re-offenders who wind up being arrested in the future. These reforms were set into motion after a series of harsh assaults on minors by other inmates as well as corrections officers inside Texas’ juvenile state-run detention facilities. A bipartisan push to improve the conditions and operations of state-run prisons ultimately set these new reforms into motion which have resulted in Texas’ dropping its juvenile prison population by over two thirds since 2007.

These new reforms feature measures to ensure that minors convicted of misdemeanors can stay in local and county facilities rather than be sent to state-run detention centers, thus keeping kids close to home. Furthermore, Texas has put strong emphasis on creating diversion programs for minors as well.

In the past six years, Texas has also allotted nearly $70 million dollars to the improvement mental health services and reduction programs for minors. That, along with the merger of multiple departments to form one single Texas Juvenile Justice Department, has proven to directly aid in the decreasing of minor prison populations. Moreover, a key switch in operations has also proven to go a long way in curbing this issue in states across the nation. Segregating offenders who have been convicted of misdemeanors and felonies shows a significant drop in re-arrests. According to the report, mixing high-risk offenders with medium and low-risk juvenile offenders creates a noteworthy probability that lower-risk offenders will be negatively influenced by felony offenders inside the prison system.

Furthermore, the report finds that youth were 21 percent more likely to commit a second offense within a year after sentences served in state-run facilities as opposed to local and county prisons. And although Texas seems to finally be making the right moves, downward trends in other states have already shown that other successful measures have been taken all across the United States. Arizona for example has cut its juvenile incarceration numbers by nearly 60 percent in the last 15 years.

With national incarceration rates still at nearly all-time highs, more and more states are looking to take pages out of Arizona, Rhode Island, and California’s books. Finding progressive means to curb juvenile detention numbers and keep kids from coming back into prisons after their initial offenses is becoming more and more important and with new statistics to prove success, Texas and many other states across the country are beginning to follow suit.

Via: The Washington Post

Posted in Arizona |

Making it Easier to Detain Mentally Ill?


In Arizona, officers can take witness statements into account when determining whether to detain individuals who may be dangerous to themselves or others. Individuals taken into custody due to a mental-health crisis are taken to an emergency psychiatric facility, stabilized, and referred for treatment. If family members or friends are concerned about a loved one’s behavior, they can use our state’s petition process to request that the person be committed. Nancy and Doug Reuter believe that Arizona’s methods of detaining and treating mentally ill individuals saved their son Joel’s life on two separate occasions. Now, they are asking lawmakers in Washington to adopt Arizona’s system in hopes that individuals struggling with mental illness will find help before it is too late.

Nancy and Doug say that Joel Reuter received treatment and ongoing monitoring of his mental health while living in Arizona, but once he moved to Washington, he was not able to get the help he needed. Friends say he began making threats and acting erratically, but because Washington requires that commitments be ordered by a county official, Joel was not detained. Instead, Joel was hospitalized and released after a suicide attempt and a high speed car crash. Less than a month after his hospital release, Joel began firing a 9mm handgun from his balcony. Police officers spent hours trying to negotiate with him, but Joel believed he was shooting at zombies. When Joel fired from his balcony again, snipers returned fire. The Reuters do not blame the police for what happened, but they do strongly believe that Joel would be alive today if Washington’s mentally ill detainment laws were more like Arizona’s.

“You have to literally get to the point where they’re going to kill themselves or someone else to get them into help,” says Doug Reuter about Washington’s current system. He is lobbying lawmakers to alter the state’s civil commitment law to include individuals with “persistent or acute disabilities,” not just mentally ill individuals in a crisis. Changing the law would allow mentally ill individuals to be treated sooner. Doug and Nancy desperately hope that lawmakers will hear their story and change the law, but after seeing other parents in similar situations come and go, the Reuters are also realistic about their chances. But, says Doug, “We have to try.”

Read original articles here and here.

Posted in Mental Health Defenses |