A word from the sheriff: the family plan

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BONNERS FERRY — “We have a lot of people who come to our jail for different reasons,” Boundary County Sheriff Dave Kramer said. “It is unfortunate that we currently have a distinct combination of a mother and daughter and a father and son all being held in our prison.”

They are being held on unrelated charges and were arrested at different times.

“I think everyone would agree that it’s not quality family time,” Kramer said. “Their names are not important, but what is important is trying to break the cycle.”

Many of those arrested have substance abuse issues, whether illegal drugs, prescription drug abuse or alcohol abuse. The majority of people the BCSO houses in the prison are not bad people, but they have made very bad choices in their lives and they are suffering the consequences, Kramer said.

Some people have to hit rock bottom before they make the necessary changes and sometimes being stopped gets them that rock bottom before they hit a point they can’t recover from, he said. Resources are provided at the prison and volunteer professional counselors talk to inmates and give them access to tools to make the positive changes needed to avoid recycling in the system.

“Creating additional challenges for our detention staff, we are facing more and more incidents where users of illegal substances are suffering from serious mental health issues,” Kramer said. “It is very difficult to provide adequate care for these inmates while maintaining a safe working environment for staff and safe living conditions for other inmates.”

Once released from prison, they are usually put on probation to help them not fall back into the habits that landed them in prison in the first place. More dangerous drugs like fentanyl are crossing our southern border and heading to places like Boundary County. And, there is also abuse of prescriptions.

The BCSO encourages people to destroy old prescriptions and keep current prescriptions in a safe place where they can be found.

It’s unfortunate, but someone addicted to drugs will steal from family members either for their own use or to sell, Kramer said.

The sheriff’s office has a prescription drop box in front of their office for expired or unused prescription drugs.

“We need to work together as a community to try to break the cycle of addiction. No family should have to meet in prison,” he said.

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