The Tribune reported incessantly on the problems of Somerset and other similar facilities, highlighting in particular how such facilities house many high risk individuals, including a significant number of felons, placing other residents and the community at risk.
Somerset has now been de-certified and all its residents will be relocated within 30 days. The Tribune has not published one single article after its last, reporting the closure of the facility. I would think the Tribune would follow up and ask where the 66 identified offenders—mentioned repeatedly in previous articles—are going to be moved?
This is the heart of the story: how does the state manage its high risk psychiatric population? Where will the state place Somerset residents, including the ones the Tribune felt were dangerous? Will they move them to other similar facilities, increasing the number of identified offenders there? Will they place them in the community? Will they move them to prison? Surprisingly, although how the state manages this population is the very crux of the issue, the Tribune now remains uncharacteristically silent. The closing of Somerset didn’t solve the problem; it only highlights the problem. And now the Tribune turns away?
In the Tribune’s spaghetti western style reporting, perhaps the story is over. They got the bad guy. But the real story is just beginning as we observe how the state attends to the messy business of finding a place for all these residents, including the 66 identified offenders. If the Tribune is going to drop the ball mid-story, we can only hope it will be picked up by another journalist and pursued with the rigor and integrity thus far lacking in the work of Gary Marx and David Jackson.