(6-13-23) I don’t often engage in politics on this page because my focus is on bettering our mental health care system and that should be a non-partisan goal.
But I feel obligated to endorse local candidates – regardless of their party affiliation – who are knowledgable about mental health issues and are working to improve our system, especially our criminal justice system.
Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Ann Kincaid is one of these local leaders. I would urge you to support her re-election bid in the June 20th Democratic primary and later in the November general election.
I have written numerous blogs about how Sheriff Kincaid has worked tirelessly to make the Fairfax County Detention Center into a gold standard for how her officers treat individuals with serious mental illnesses. At one point, the Sheriff noted that up to 60% of inmates in her jail have addictions and 40% have a diagnosable mental illness.
I know of several incidents when distraught parents called me because one of their children with a severe mental illness had been arrested. In nearly all of those cases, Sheriff Kincaid spoke directly with the parents and assured them that their loved one would be safe and treated fairly in jail.
A while back, I wrote this about the sheriff.
Sheriff Kincaid was a crucial in launching the county’s Diversion First program, is nationally recognized as a proponent of the Stepping Up Initiative, and has implemented dozens of meaningful changes at the adult detention center, such as offering tele-psychiatry services in the jail. She changed the jail’s long standing policy of releasing inmates at 12:01 a.m., shifting discharge to 8 a.m., a time when transportation, shelter, medical care and other community resources are more readily available. Since 2016, she has invited NAMI support groups into the jail six times a year. She routinely talks to parents and spouses who are concerned about an incarcerated loved one with a mental illness and/or substance abuse problem.
Sheriff Kincaid is tough – she needs to be – and shrewd at politics. She doesn’t back down from a fight when she believes she is right. She first came to the sheriff’s office in 1987 as a deputy, moving up through the ranks until she was elected sheriff in 2013. She knows better than anyone the ins-and-outs of the detention center. She also succeeded in a profession dominated by males. She has her critics. But that goes along with being a strong leader.
I have worked with Sheriff Kincaid for several years on mental health issues and have always walked away from those sessions recognizing that her concern about individuals with mental illnesses is a priority and sincere. If reelected, Kincaid said, she hopes to build on the office’s reentry programs for people leaving jail, aiming to create a reentry center in Fairfax County.
Election Day is Tuesday, June 20, and polls will be open that day from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Election Day, you must vote at your assigned polling place, which you can look up here.
I will be voting for her and, if you live in Fairfax County, you should too.
The post Sheriff Stacey A. Kincaid Cares About Fairfax Residents With Mental Illnesses: She Deserves Your Vote appeared first on Pete Earley.