YTread Logo
YTread Logo

Seattle is Dying | A KOMO News Documentary

May 29, 2021
Let me ask you something: what if Seattle is


and we don't even know it? This story is about boiling anger that is now turning into outrage. These are people who have felt compassion, yes, but who no longer feel safe. They feel heard They no longer feel protected It's about lost souls wandering our streets untethered to their home or family or reality chasing a drug that in turn chases them It's about the damage they inflict on themselves, certainly, but also to the fabric of this place where we live, this story is about a beautiful gem that has been violated and a crisis of faith among a generation of Seattleites who fall out of love with their home.
seattle is dying a komo news documentary
There is also another part of this story, it is about a solution, an idea for a city that has run out of them and I ask again what if Seattle is


and we don't even know it. I drive my 12 year old son's carpool through Yesler when we carpool and it's a good conversation starter about you know what they are. I'm looking at what we can do to help you know how we can make a difference, and honestly, right now I don't have a good answer for how we can make a difference. The last five to ten years, it's not where I grew up.
seattle is dying a komo news documentary

More Interesting Facts About,

seattle is dying a komo news documentary...

And it has been very sad. Matt Campbell lives and works in Seattle. He is starting a family and, like many others, he is angry. He has reached a point where I am ashamed. I don't want my friends and family to come here. People didn't use the word embarrassing about Seattle anymore, but if you listen closely, you'll hear it a lot now you know it's embarrassing. This is one of the most beautiful regions in the entire world and right now for lack of It seems like a better word and it's embarrassing, this is Merdot Derek Shande, he runs an upholstery shop in Ballard, near the Burke Gilman trail, look if you can't feel your frustration, this is just this, this is just a bunch of this, it's not right. your window look at this oh they're here with me yes I'm a human being too customers who come to your store see the same thing i've met compton watts police officers south central they have some power in their hand here you see a lot of fingers sparkles running around here What the hell?
seattle is dying a komo news documentary
Because they are in the city like this. They are having problems. They are having problems. They don't have enough authority. There were fires outside his store last summer and Mr. Derek Shande. He doesn't blame the police. He believes they have been stripped of power. The mayor of the city doesn't give authority to the police. That's the problem. We need someone with some weights to tell them that it's not legal to live on the sidewalk. It's an ordinance. the city is not legal to live here why can't we enforce the law last May 2nd at a town meeting in Ballard?
seattle is dying a komo news documentary
The latent anger turned into full-blown rage. So why do we see so many people living outdoors? Will you manage these camps and enforce the law there? It has evolved. a profound disconnect and rarely has it been laid out more vividly than in this exchange if a property crime is committed, violence is committed, you should call 911. You have lost all credibility when you say you said two words, you said call 911. You understand? that the police have told us to expel them all so they can do their jobs and you're telling us to call 9-1-1 you're smiling you think it's funny you think it's funny the way we live we live in beautiful


the people are angry and furious about the way we live let's look for a moment at property crimes in the 20 largest cities in the country new york city in 2017 had 1,448 property crimes per 100,000 residents los angeles era just over 2,500 chicago 3,263 and look at


5,258 the only major city with the worst number is san francisco which is dealing with the same problems for the same reasons we are they break the 6,000 mark it's not your imagination the crime here the robberies The car theft is worse than in other big cities and in most cases it is much worse and then you walk down the street and you see a miserable soul like this consumed by demons maybe madness maybe drugs maybe both that's right what suffering looks like is the pain ranting and screaming deliriously in silence completely unraveling before our eyes and then tomorrow you will wake up and relive the nightmare once again starving to death eating garbage from a trash can look at the people passing by Of course you're not surprised how could you see it every day how can this be who we are?
How can this be what we allow? How did the word compassion become twisted in this disgusting reality? The Puget Sound Business Journal estimates that Seattle and its outlying areas spend $1 billion addressing and responding to homelessness each year and say the number is almost certainly an underestimate. Nonprofit organizations. City and county budgets. Police calls to homeless encampments. Hospital services. Building small houses. The more money we throw at the problem, the worse it gets, but of course what is happening in King County and on the streets of Seattle is not about dollars, it is about human lives, how can this be the right thing to do? ?
How can it be possible to see human beings live? and die in filth, degradation and madness. You're right, the cost is not a billion dollars a year. The cost is quality of life. The cost is that people no longer want to bring their families downtown. Families do not feel safe in their own neighborhoods. The cost is the people. They no longer feel like they are her. They no longer feel protected. The cost is that people die in the streets and the rest of us get used to seeing them insensitive to suffering. The cost is incalculable. How did we get to this point? this is a list of family members face repeat offenders people who break laws get caught get released and break laws over and over again there are a hundred names on the list scott lindsey is the man who dove into public records and researched the carry list We don't send someone to jail.
We don't give them significant help and then we put them back on the streets. We know they're going to commit the same crimes in the same places and our public records, our criminal justice records really show that that's exactly what's happening. Look at the sheer volume. of criminal cases calvin a 68 criminal cases since 2002 repeated random assaults on random people draynon b 54 criminal cases since 2016. michelle c 72 cases since 2000 and the list goes on and on seattle mayor says it's wrong to conflate homelessness with an increase in crime for at least 100 people would at least appear to be a factor of 100 if you looked at what percentage of them were homeless.
Yes, according to our criminal justice records, 100 percent had indicators that they were currently homeless and what percentage it showed. signs of addiction, yes, 100 also showed signs of a substance use disorder and what percentage were mentally ill, yes, just under half had been formally evaluated by the courts for serious mental health conditions, on average, the People on the list had 36 criminal cases each in Washington state and seven jail arrests in the last year. What this report also shows is that the police are working hard, they are making contacts, they are making arrests for criminal conduct of the same people in the same places over and over again.
What I think we need to focus on is what our system is doing. of criminal justice to support those police officers, the 100 names had between them more than 3600 criminal cases for the most part, few have served serious sentences and are out in our communities walking our streets the drain of the system the drain of resources and manpower is incalculable the fact that this system could continue with a failure rate of 100 for so long without anyone raising questions without the city council holding hearings without any action being taken is something I find difficult to explain Richard Padden is 55 years old, born and raised in Seattle, works for the county, looks at the post-apocalyptic landscape of Seattle and is amazed, but this border is not crazy, I mean, we are allowing ourselves to participate in an insane practice that is giving people it's heartbreaking it's heartbreaking richard started a facebook page called seattle it seems like it's not meant to be funny but sad the pictures speak for themselves eh i started taking some pictures in the area posting those and the name of the place while i'm driving look, just I tell myself Seattle seems like we're sick of it, I was sick of it, that's why I started the page day after day, one after another, the photos on the page from every corner of the emerald city paint a picture of rot and filth that is being allowed to rot in the streets and in the lots and under the overpasses of a once proud city, it looks like a third world, it looks like you know, junkyard.
I'm not heartless, but I don't see, I don't see that what we're doing now is helping anyone and things haven't gotten better. Seattle police have been afraid to speak for two years. We have tried to get the police to do it. They talk about what they see every day, about what is really happening on the streets and behind the scenes, more than once the word terrified was used, police officers are afraid of losing their jobs and pensions, they are terrified of reprisals, so we published some generic questionnaires that were completed. by completely anonymous police officers, their answers are revealing, terrifying and sometimes sad. one officer wrote simply yes I'm frustrated because I'm a police officer being told not to enforce the law, another wrote it's simple start keeping criminals in jail judges.
We need to stop giving them ridiculously low sentences and prosecutors need to stop taking cheesy plea deals and actually locking people up when they commit a crime, that's all it would take to drastically reduce the crime rate. from Seattle. Another officer said that people come here because it's called freedom and I think if they come here they will get free food, free medical treatment, free mental health treatment, a free tent, free clothing and they will be free from prosecution for almost everything, and They're right, that's not how law enforcement officers used to do it. In order to enforce the laws, this officer continues, in the last five years there has been a cultural change and it started with the legislature decriminalizing serious crimes and throwing convicts on the streets and then there is this one officer says even if they are carried out arrests with quality warrant.
The judicial system sees fit to let them out of jail within a couple of days, often the next day, why do we risk our lives to apprehend fugitives of serious crimes if they are simply going to be released? Both the prosecution and the judges seem to be drinking the entire kool-aid causing a huge disconnect and a broken system with no teeth that's travis bergie stretching before we interviewed him reindeer wine four years ago he's a musician a big personality and he's got issues You are a true user, what is your drug of choice? I use meth, yes, and I try to use it at least once a day, but I don't really consider myself a drug addict.
It's amazing that you like the man I love. Remember that list of familiar faces. travis is in this 34 criminal cases in four years things like assault attempted rape invasion you're on a list you know well there's a list of the 100 who went on the hunt 100 frequent travelers friendly faces everything everything which one am I, what number on the ready, yeah, oh, you're up there. It's good that you are there. Just saying I've definitely been the most in Seattle. Darren T. Travis left the bike. Travis. This is body camera footage of an incident at first and pike a little over a year ago travis what's up what's up hey come on travis travis hey travis put the bike down it started with destruction of property and escalated until attacking police officers, a group of police officers were deployed, get up so we can leave. from here fergie spit them out hey don't bite don't bite either get up travis let's get on the stretcher here's the girl lasted for hours well actually i'm not even high right now travis doesn't apologize outrageously for his life and his world he doesn't care about yours Do you steal because of your habit?
In fact, I started stealing last Monday. I started stealing and oh my God, that was one of the hardest sacrifices. relax, travis, do you want to smoke, travis?, you want to smoke or a bar of chocolate, but are you going to continue doing that? Oh, I'm having a great time now, it's so much fun, what should the system do with a guy like you, I guess. that this system has done what any legitimate viable system would do and they have really elevated me and shown me deference and I don't feel like I will ever be arrested again, I haven't been in jail for a year and three months or so , you know, a change like that in response to a big change definitely shows that I've conquered the criminal justice system.
I want to know the sad part, the truly frustrating part. You're probably right. There was a police officer named Todd Wiebke.took pride in getting his boots dirty meeting marginalized people in the camps tried to find common ground as human beings and tried to police blogged for a long time first person reflections on patrols what happens in the dark shadows of west seattle not long ago wrote this this week I dealt with crises with narcotics with heartache and with liars sometimes all at once sometimes one at a time I am unable to open doors when dealing with a person trapped in a horror within their own mind sir I try but I am a limited man with only a little skill I still love coming to work we have an amazing city with the ability to adapt and overcome the only way to lose is not to try we are trying to solve this crisis and we will not lose and then , one day last October, a superior told Todd Wiebke to confiscate a motor home and clean the place up, and when he did, another superior scolded him. for doing it because of the new protocol he had a full belly and entered hr and resigned he retired just like that I feel like I abandoned the ship that I walked away from that and I did it because I couldn't do it anymore, it was simply the bureaucracy accumulated to the point where that I felt I was no longer needed as a police officer, that the system had a different idea of ​​how they wanted to handle it and that I was an appendage, I needed to leave, so I left.
Ask anyone and they will tell you he was a good cop, the kind we want, the kind we need, but I will tell you there is no morality, there is love for the job, he says, the drugs, the camps, the theft, the rot and The It's a shame, you don't have to destroy Seattle, everyone is being allowed to try to do the right thing, it just goes wrong. Listen to these next words carefully, let them assimilate. You know, I've said it before and I've said it before. I'll say it again, the only thing I can compare it to is that we are running a concentration camp without barbed wire, including the medical experiment of poisoning these people with drugs.
I don't know how else to say it and it's infuriating. In every camp I entered there was a weapon, multiple weapons, I found modified weapons. I was constantly on the side of the road talking to people brandishing machetes and holding an ax armed with knives. Our city has even gone so far as to say this. of narcotics on their persons, okay, three grams, yes, okay, so that's the number of users, so you know when it starts, you know that process and people feel safe and good having their drugs on them, what do they think? prevents doing it? now you're practically accepting narcotics and the same officers that used to go out and arrest them have now become powerless and can't do anything about it and it's just a matter of political will on the part of our city to go out there and you say hey, you can't park. your motor home in this driveway with no motor with all this dirt around it you can't do it it's wrong and stop them I gotta say man this is really nice I'm in heaven he's in Hobart now he bought a horse ranch and he shares it with his family and these friends so this is Griff the white guy okay they're a little nervous about the camera so the horses are awesome they're 900 pound chickens and before they we left This good cop who is now an ex-cop had one more question for him and if you live in the city that Todd Wiebke used to patrol, if the people you love and care for are here with you trying to live a good life, then his answer should send shivers down your spine. the back let me ask you this knowing what you know having seen what you've seen if you had a young family, would you raise them in Seattle right now?
Absolutely not even no, no, there is a cemetery in Seattle. a jewish cemetery, campers and rvs parked next door and stay, this man, re hoffman, this should not be happening in civilized society, he says the cemetery has been repeatedly violated, prostitutes were working in the woods, drug addicts were working in the forest, our gardeners come on Monday morning. and they find everything from a weekend of fun, which is needles in the ground, glass, methamphetamine on the tombstones, other drugs, garbage, they leave their garbage outside, they see feces on the tombstones that were left over from what happened the night previous, by the way, the name of the cemetery is a beaker haleem means helping those who are sick.
You're angry, right? I'm furious, I'm beyond furious, this has taken me to a whole new limit, let's get the sandbags out of this one and let's get it all out ari has a company that sets up bounce houses at concerts and festivals. He says it's not just the Jewish cemetery that's being desecrated, it's everywhere and I used to say this place is great because the streets are so clean it's so beautiful. They walk through the streets now they smell of urine the cemeteries are being desecrated people can't go to the parks with their children because there are needles everywhere my office the bullets come flying through the windows towards us it's out of control it's non-stop and this We deserve better and everything can be prevented, everything can be avoided, everything can be fixed, it didn't have to be like this.
I wish I had faith in my government, but after two meetings with council members and nothing has changed, I really don't expect anything to change. We'll have to do this ourselves, thanks for coming guys, yeah, I really appreciate it, a couple of months after the interview was done, Ari Hoffman, who was put in the spotlight because he expressed outrage, had no aspirations policies of any kind and who was urged. by friends and frustrated citizens decided to run for city council and has no future political aspirations beyond the council the other day he said I want to fix Seattle and then go back to work a report received is when the police file a case report requesting that the office of the city attorney filed charges on behalf of the city in 2006 for every 100 reports received 25 of them did not come forward how times have changed in 2016 the latest data we have for every 100 police reports 46 of them almost twice as many many do not were presented nothing happened at all were completely ignored of the remaining 54 of the original 100, a third of them were completely dismissed and discarded another third were classified as other without resolution, so only 18 of the original 100 reports presented by police actually result in 18 convictions and of those 18 convictions after plea deals and lenient sentences, very few cases end with anyone actually responsible.
Those are numbers from 2016, we have no reason to believe the trends haven't continued since then. homeless you don't see unemployed truckers or down on their luck construction workers they don't live like this in tents on mud patches this is something different these are drugs heroin methamphetamine citizens know it at least we can recognize the elephant in the room that this is also a drug problem. I have only heard it mentioned as a housing problem. This is a drug problem. homeless people in quotes know it too. I haven't met anyone else on the street who isn't in some phase. by addiction I mean serious use and I think that's the starting point, you just have to address it, you have to figure it out, so I want to make sure I understand that correctly.
I would say 100 of the people I've met. They have some level of addiction here one hundred percent yes, every single person I've met here, but listen carefully, we constantly refer to it as a homeless crisis, not a drug crisis, the fractured approach and isolated from the homeless in our region. help combat the homeless epidemic crisis we have a crisis around housing and homelessness if we don't even name what is destroying seattle what hope do we have of solving it matt markovich is a reporter on how it is in the camps among the people homeless and addicts almost every day, yes, that's the woman I've been talking to there, she's running, they're trying to make this a park and she's leading the spearhead effort, that woman who lives there, is it like that, what will it be? take to get you off the street matt is responsible for the como seattle stories project his is a unique perspective a frequent witness to the underbelly of the emerald city with the eye of a reporter it's a miserable life it really is you have nowhere to go fires in bathrooms are prohibited in most places the most important thing is theft everyone complains about theft there is no safe place here he has seen it all the rats the human waste the cold the torment you wouldn't wish him this life nor to your worst enemy no, no but it is remarkable that people choose this even though you hear the city statistics that say that people don't want to do this, that it is miserable, there is compassion for the people, the people you see and I see many of them in the fields.
Are they choosing to stay that way because of all the drug habits they have or is that all drug driven, drugs drive everything we see here, well I would more or less say substance abuse, heroin, meth, even marijuana, to some extent, is the determining factor why they stay here have you sat down with the city attorney have you asked him about repeat offenders who are arrested 60 70 times and thrown onto the streets what does he say you can't um you can't you can arrest his way out of this problem is a firm belief of his, why is the question should we punish him now when all the criminal records you cite are proof that what we have been doing hasn't worked?
Have you ever heard of real cases? A significant intervention is underway. Not really. I can't say one case that I've been covering for the last year and a half that I know of someone who got treatment and got off the streets. Police said that on july 20, 2017. this man, louis arby iii, 41, removed the screen from a woman's window at an assisted living facility in seatac and climbed inside. The woman inside was brutalized for an hour, she was raped, beaten, strangled and robbed. Police say Louis Arby also urinated on the floor after police say he left through the same window he had come in through.
The victim was treated for a brain hemorrhage, a broken nose and other injuries. She was 71 years old. It was a shocking crime and Disturbing, but maybe we shouldn't have made that whole surprise just four days before the rape just 96 hours before police say it marked a woman's life forever louis arby iii was arrested here sitting next to the fountain right outside the king county courthouse police say he was selling meth that's him in the back of In patrol car after arrest he was booked and then released almost immediately. Our criminal justice system decided that he should not spend even 24 hours in jail, but even a brief look at his record would have shown that Louis Arby had come from California, where he had spent 19 years in prison for kidnapping, robbery, and theft. cars and if prosecutors had looked a little closer, they would have known that Arby was the only suspect in a case three months earlier in which a woman was taken hostage, forcibly shot full of drugs and raped and brutally beaten during 15 hours the king county prosecutor's office says that in this case we had information that he had a conviction in california in 1995 for kidnapping to commit robbery and other crimes the prosecutors assigned to the investigation were not aware of other pending investigations and that is why We are left with the question of how it is possible that a man is arrested in front of a court in possession of a deadly drug that destroys lives, how is it that this man who has a long history of violence does not even spend 24 hours in jail, how "Are they sending him back to the streets?" a Seattle police officer told us.
I would argue that all people living in tents on sidewalks, gates, and encampments are suffering from drug addiction or, more rarely, a serious debilitating mental illness. Another officer put it this way. Some type of intervention must be made on the people involved. If there is no intervention, there is no solution. It's that easy. This officer continues. He used to be proud of the hard work I did and I actually thought he was doing something important. I was proud. on working hard and making good arrests while treating everyone with the respect they deserved now it's just about trading hours for dollars and it's frustrating for me knowing that I'm becoming more apathetic and caring less about doing a good job another cop said that Homelessness and drug use have become such politically charged issues that the city, including the SPD administration, has become uninterested in policing this population in a misguided attempt to help this population. has allowed the streets to be essentially taken over.
The city is falling apart and becoming more unsafe due to the politics surrounding low level criminal activity and homelessness,we don't want to screw with the homeless population we just want to have the ability to police them and another officer told us that drug dealers who sell crack and heroin are evil people who prey on the weakest part of society and should be in prison We arrest them and nothing happens to them, they are back on the street immediately we must recognize the disregard for human life inherent in the sale of drugs that end life and lock up the traffickers for a long time campers appear at the end they are moved they appear again They settle wherever they want in front of the tourists next to the businesses, it doesn't matter and they know that the lack of political will or the overwhelming resources or the indifference disguised as compassion will allow them to stay and not think for a moment that the Visitors to our city don't realize, it was kind of surprising, I don't know why the city would let that happen, I mean, this is your tourist spot, you know what I mean.
The family is from Tennessee, they seem really confused. I just don't understand, isn't it an invasion? You know what I am saying? So how can they stay there? Why does the city tolerate it? Why do I want to say that it is a public? Why does anyone stay there? I don't understand why they would arrest me. I thought my city did that. I mean, right next to our parking lot. There is only garbage and the smell was not there. Oh my god, the smell is horrible. Whatever staircase you enter here, let me ask you something. Do you think they will visit you again in the last three years?
You know everything has gone downhill. Steve Danishek has spent his entire life in Seattle. He says that when petty crimes ceased to exist. applied was the beginning of the end and at that moment everyone understood the message: down here it's free for all, it's a wild west, no laws apply, do what you want, I can come down here and pee in the street or shit in there or smoke a cigarette. set i are not going to arrest anyone for doing that because they are not doing that they are not arresting anyone if I were a member of the city council I could say well, we are overwhelmed, we have this homeless epidemic, no, no, the city council is not is overwhelmed by nothing the city council are idiots they know there are solutions out there they have just turned their back on the solutions we no longer worry about the small things in seattle the small acts of incivility are ignored and here's why if someone says they urinate in front of the Nordstrom store.
They used to get a civil infraction. A fine of 27. It used to be that a civility charge became a criminal charge if you didn't pay the fine, but the city attorney's office stopped filing civility cases. now they drop them almost without exception urinating or defecating in public sleeping in parks blocking sidewalks not paying tickets all of that won't get you anything and that's why the police have stopped issuing tickets altogether what's the point of small acts of incivility things that do they cumulatively affect everyone? of us no longer have consequences in Seattle the businesses in our city, large and small, are fit to be tied up bob donegan is the president of ivers the conditions allowed around our businesses are one thing there are needles and rats and garbage and feces no It's acceptable in a big urban city to have that kind of problem where there are a lot of people, but then with online shopping already threatening its existence, a horde of thieves appeared and stole every day to feed their addiction.
I would love to know what the total is if Overall, the downtown drive-thru business would account for your theft losses in the millions and millions of dollars a year. If they could compile that statistic, we'd probably all drop dead after hearing what the total was. One of the officers who responded to the questionnaire we sent agreed that the amount of money lost due to thefts downtown said is staggering, unfortunately businesses take the hit and the person caught stealing rarely has to deal with the consequences. consequences Denise Moriguchi is the CEO of Owajumaya, the grocery shopping center. from the international district the system is broken and I think that is creating the audacity that Huawei called 911 times over a period of 19 months.
They are bold when caught. They know they don't really care and many times they do. We, you know, we'll file a police report and they'll get a trespass notification, but then they'll just come back and say, "Oh, you've got this trespass, okay? What are you going to do? Call the police and if you wonder why?" there's that audacity you talk about. Of those 599 reports of theft at your store in a 19-month period, about eight of the cases ended in some type of prosecution, most of them because they also involved assault. It's huge and it costs. It costs these small family businesses and big box retailers millions and millions of dollars a year and you know, companies don't like to talk about it because no one wants to say how much they are losing, but we know it's millions of dollars that the citizens. and store owners had waited for the people who ran our city to come up with a plan and then one day last May a group of construction workers got tired of waiting and took action to come here for this important discussion, like you they know.
I am also a rank and file member of the union movement that day the tide turned against Seattle's proposed corporate tax to pay for homeless services and affordable housing, but if we fight against each other the bosses win the city council that had been approved. tax unanimously, you can say exactly what you think, but instead of yelling at each other, let's listen to each other, he was forced to repeal $75 million worth of business taxes and anyway, for a moment I felt as if something had changed. Dreaming about this store, yeah, it's not, I mean, it's difficult emotionally because I've been a part of the neighborhood.
You know, Karen Dannenberg ran her boutique in Belltown for many years and then things changed, there was a guy who was shooting heroin or whatever. on the sidewalk I was in flip flops walking there was urine all over the sidewalk mattresses a pile of trash that was overflowing and it was horrible called the police wrote letters things only got worse and I'm going to Bellevue and it's quiet and it's quiet and nothing's happening this and it is a pleasure to be there. I never thought I'd say I'd be ready to leave Seattle, but I'm true to her word that she left her store that is now in Bellevue and is thriving among In responses to our questionnaire, an anonymous Seattle police officer said he has to There will be some type of intervention to break the cycle or people will continue doing what they do, the addict will not quit because it has become too easy for them to use and the dealer will not give up because the consequences of getting caught are minimal.
Another said Seattle needs leaders who are willing to stand up for what is right and in doing so will ultimately help those who can't help themselves and hold accountable those who hide behind. Reading the responses, two things are very clear: the level of frustration and the fact that, despite everything, they still care deeply. An officer said that the use of crack, cocaine, heroin and especially methamphetamine is increasing unless someone is contacted to obtain low quantities of the drug has a warrant they are not going to go to jail they know it and they have no problem in consume it outdoors drug dealers have realized and have changed the amount they keep in them currently it is impossible to combat the open air drug market in the city, that officer was referring to the fact that in King County three grams of heroin or methamphetamine will not get you prosecuted or probably even arrested, it is an unofficial policy, it is just a much larger amount, say 20 grams, that is processed and the dealers and users know it.
By the way, three grams of heroin is equivalent to 30 doses. One officer summed it all up like this: Let's spend millions of dollars on mandatory inpatient treatment programs instead of making excuses for his addiction or crimes, the choice should be treatment or jail. You have to intervene in the cycle or it will never end and you may wonder why they didn't show the positive answers to the police questionnaire. The answer is simple. There weren't any. They use deadly drugs and sell those drugs. for 10 dollars a dose and again and again they rob us blind to get the 10 dollars and they pollute our streets, parks and neighborhoods and they live in filth and desperation like animals and we allow it all, we used to talk about compassion and when the madness that always recedes patiently into the distance finally reaches out and wraps its arms around them and in the end it always does, the suffering increases exponentially until the misery is a white-hot pain that never stops, never rests this man in the Our city center was struggling once he fell, he couldn't get back on his feet so he sat there for a long time at exactly the same time, right across the street there was another man apparently also in the middle of a drug crisis that staggers out lost in some other world you can see the same thing on many corners every day leaving them alone is a death sentence sooner or later they die in the streets or in tents or in low barriers tiny houses , leaving them alone is shaming ourselves and that's why they need help, they don't need camps and injection sites and free bags of socks, they need help of the kind that takes courage, the kind that gives Seattle and Seattle a chance to fight, they need intervention. and that's why the city of seattle and king county seem to be fighting mightily to find answers, we came all the way to rhode island looking for answers and we may have found some right behind the prison walls.
Providence is a mid-sized city in our smallest state, what they are working on here, while not seemingly revolutionary or mind-blowing at first glance, is a bold step to save lives and cities and give back to the tortured souls who have succumbed to the heroine hell a fighting chance and, in providence, it is a man who will tell you about the program they have developed but first he will tell you his own story. He didn't have to do what I did. He wanted to be something he couldn't be. He wanted to emulate the older boys of the world. neighborhood his name is michael manfredi used heroin for 35 years i became addicted in february at the age of 15 he was a full fledged addict 15 years 15 years this is his mugshot from the last time he came to rhode island department of corrections 20 years of his life had been spent locked up well nothing seemed to work it was a life out of control when they put handcuffs on me in my house that day when they kicked in my door um I looked The lady detective and I said thank you.
She looked at me like she was crazy. Sugar Partnerships guys, nothing she said. I said you just saved my life because if she didn't stop me there, I won't be sitting here today. I wouldn't do it either. would be dead or serving a life sentence The question facing Rhode Island is similar to the question facing much of the United States: How do we protect our society while also showing compassion toward those who are sick and struggling? This may be the question. of our time i have wanted this program basically since the day i started doctor jennifer clark is the director of what is known in the east as the mat program, medication assisted treatment, we can't just ignore our way out of this, we can't arrest to get out of this people are dying and there is something we can do to stop it, this really starts here because the first thing they do in Rhode Island is enforce their laws, the drug dealers and the people who steal and commit crimes to get their the drugs eventually end up in this place the rhode island department of corrections is not a nice place it's a prison but inside the walls something amazing happens every day the inmates who are in the map program line up and take their medications there are three blockers of opiates that work methadone suboxone and vivitrol are approved by the FDA get people off heroin they save lives prisoners who enter the program choose which medication they want to use michael manfredi chose vivitrol and remembers when he started taking it near the end of his last period behind bars and one night I got a call, it was around 6:30.
Come to the reception and I was like oh no, hey, what do I do now? I know I didn't do anything wrong, but they told me to go see the nurse. She had tears in her eyes. eyes because I knew it was time to take that pill really this is the perfect scenario because there's not that much distraction actually Linda Hurley is the president of a non-profit organization called Kodak that has been around for 50 years Overseas, the state of Rhode Island contracted Kodak to distribute drugs within the prison walls. The three medications that you take in your life are no different than if you were using lisinoprol or something like, I don't know, a blood pressure medication orthe insulin you have. a family you have a job you build your life what it does is stabilize us physically so we can do the emotional work that we need to do to heal from the illness I started playing with pills and everything and then once I found opiates, that was the end, You know, Ray Vincent has been behind bars for three years, he was stealing to support his habit for a while and then he upped the ante on robbery, maybe if he didn't come here, he'd probably be dead, so you think getting arrested was a good thing. for you.
I think he saved my life. I don't want to continue, I don't want to keep coming here the rest of my life, you know, and if this medication is a stepping stone, I need it, I will do it, that's the bottom line within the prison, within the mat program. Inmates have counselors, there are individual meetings with recovery coaches and group meetings, and they also attack addiction with all the tools they can and recovery coaches come and meet with anyone who is willing and interested in meeting with them so they can develop a relationship with them on the inside and then maintain that relationship on the outside.
Kevin Tangway says they didn't arrest me, they rescued me and you were stealing? Yes, that is my main activity. What I do is shoplift. a thief has been in prison eight in the last 10 years he's on methadone, we get him at 12 o'clock and they monitor us, we get those evaluations, like the doctors, the counselors, um, that we keep in touch so they can know if we are at the point where one dose keeps me going so I don't really feel so bad, the mat system is a lifesaver and these men are hanging on for dear life, I'm not afraid of a lot of things but I'm a little worried because they don't I want to go back to that, I don't want to go back to that because you don't even know what's real anymore and I'm just a little afraid of dying alone, you know, I want to try to fix things, my mother is still alive, I want to do some kind of repair before something happens to one of us, you know, look at this place, look. in all the buildings, the infrastructure, what if it was a specialized facility where we could use all our resources and knowledge to fight what is happening?
What if it were a place where doctors, counselors, and social workers were available along with the treatment medications that we know work, that we know save lives, what if this were a very specific place where sick people learn to living life again, job training, therapy, treatment, all in one place, would it have to be one place? where patients couldn't just get up and leave if they wanted to because the disease is such that that doesn't really work, but they would eventually leave and have jobs and families and maybe continue using methadone suboxone or vivitrol for the rest of their lives. live the same way some people use insulin what you're looking at is Mcneil Island completely abandoned for the most part you could call it an answer waiting for the right question it wouldn't have to be here it could be somewhere else but maybe those billion The Dollars we spent last year could be spent on a tough, compassionate concept that actually works and saves lives While Seattle and the rest of the West Coast wander in the dark searching for answers, it's important to understand that the genius of what they're doing in Rhode Island isn't just about there being comprehensive drug treatment within the prison walls, the cool thing is what happens when inmates let the number one priority be how they're going to continue their medication the moment someone shows up. in a program in the community that have to be registered in that database so that we know if they are appearing or not.
The numbers are increasing. The number I saw yesterday was that 93 percent of the people who leave here on the mat are following up in the community. That is awesome. 93. 93 percent. following michael manfredi he is one of those who stayed with the program after his release he is alive to talk about it would I be where I am today if this program was not implemented? No, I wouldn't be here today honestly, God, I'd be dead. This is a Kodak center. They are spread throughout Rhode Island. There are seven of them in Providence alone. Once you enter the department of corrections and are medicated with methadone, suboxone or vivitrol, you become a Kodak patient.
You have a patient identification number in our system. and our agencies across Rhode Island are connected. Ex-inmates or anyone else in the program shows up any time, any day, bringing bottles home to be filled and receive their medications. No red tape, no questions, no doctor's appointments, no vouchers they're on. the system they get their meds through is that simple josh broadfoot overdosed 12 times and somehow survived he got three years for selling drugs i'm thankful they arrested me and got me out of the situation i was in because I mean it sounds like saying "I" I'm grateful that they arrested me and took me away from my family, but maybe I wouldn't even be there to see my family again if that situation hadn't happened, I could have completely left that day .
Josh is on methadone, the Mat program. He says it gives him hope, you have to go out and do something different, but at the same time we have a little help along the way, we have this counseling, we have something that we know helps us stay away from opiates and people who are They worry about them. And that's very helpful on the outside, those group meetings continue and also the counseling that is so important up to three times a week and I changed by becoming someone who didn't want to be my psychiatrist, my caseworker, my case manager. and my doctor who prescribes my pills, all in one center.
I don't have to go all over the state of Rhode Island. It's a center, you know, with all the advice and all the support that I have. It's like it's a very smooth transition. I know I don't know what it would be like if I wasn't on medication because I don't know if someone, if I go out the next day, I see a bag of heroin, you know, someone I know just sees me on the street. Hey, hey, give me a high five or something, there's a bag of drugs in his hand, you know, I don't want to, it's scary to think about it, but that's the reality, Bray Vincent got out of prison 19 days after we talked to he goes to school. to become a welder, he gets the medication from him at a Kodak center every week, it saves lives, so I don't consider it soft or compassionate, it's the right thing to do, it's what we are obligated to do as healthcare providers.
It's the smartest thing to do Patricia Coyne Feig, who runs the entire penitentiary, knows that one of the ways to measure success is to look at the mortality rate of those released from prison because I have seen it work, that is, it They see the numbers of people who would do it. Being dead is not thanks to this program, leaving the walls behind is dangerous because addicts who are clean will use the same amount of drugs they used before and then overdose. The rate of that happening is very low in Rhode Island and what we found was a 65 percent decrease in mortality for people with a history of incarceration 65 and the program is still only about three years old and maybe it's just a coincidence that it was a group of women who have spearheaded a program that is tough, compassionate and innovative at the same time, maybe it's a coincidence maybe not michael manfredi has a job now goes to meetings he has reconnected with his family he is productive he is happy he is alive my The most important thing is my granddaughter she melts she lost my heart man I have absolutely never been happier in my life why is that because I have never lived a productive life like I am today the great man of my life I can't I can't thank everyone enough man because always for this program mit michael would not be here today I am proud of me part of my family and I am part of everything I have done and that means a lot to all of us, me and the people who work on the program to do this work because the other reason we do it is what they have done.
What is done in Rhode Island and elsewhere can be summarized in two simple concepts: enforcement and intervention. Seattle and King County have backed away from those things. We have left sick and tortured souls wandering the streets to rot in filth and die before us. We have given our city to those who would steal from us and addict our children. We have moved away from simple concepts that unite society and keep it safe. Things like law enforcement and intervention. A city is a living being, it has a rhythm and a heartbeat. A kind of soul is a collection of ideas that we protect and defend old and new ideas and over time the ideas merge into a collective dream that lives in constant change and the dream is nothing more and nothing less than a better life for our children . but behind the beauty and the ideals behind the bridges and the baseball stadiums and the beautiful buildings the dirty work is the fight the big dreams and the big cities don't survive without a fight Seattle is dying maybe with all the wealth and the growth that we were so pleased with ourselves or so busy that we forgot about the hard part maybe good people who go to work every day and raise families and pay taxes those who built the city and dreamed the dream forgot about the dirty work maybe we forget about the fight against you

If you have any copyright issue, please Contact