Woodland nonprofit keeps reaching

first_imgWOODLAND — Chris Becker has been in and out of jail. Not because of blatant criminality, but because Becker’s bipolar disorder triggered behaviors that brought out police. One time, he called police himself because he was getting deeply paranoid; but when the “wrong” officers showed up, he said, he protested violently and got himself tossed in the clink.Becker’s stays in county jails and at Western State Hospital, a psychiatric facility for criminals with mental illness, were nothing short of brutal, he said.“Gladiator school” is how Becker, 40, described one holding cell at Western State. “It was one of the most violent places I’ve ever seen,” he said. If you were one of the smaller, scareder guys in the mostly unsupervised room, he said, good luck. After being repeatedly assaulted by a fellow inmate, Becker told an orderly he was getting ready to unleash one knockout punch; the orderly asked Becker to wait until the next staffer’s shift because of the inevitable paperwork.Becker pulled himself together and got out of Western in one piece, but he never forgot the hapless folks whose problems were only made worse behind bars. He spent years as a state-certified peer support counselor with various Clark County social service agencies that work with the mentally ill homeless; now, he’s joined forces with friends in Woodland to launch a multifaceted nonprofit agency that reaches out to people in jail — as well as people on the street.“I have always had a heart for helping people. It’s just the right thing to do,” said Mike Rindahl, Becker’s buddy, who is president of the board of StreetReach NW.last_img

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