Archived Story

Neither crime nor jail issues going away

Published 12:00am Sunday, September 2, 2012

Until citizens acknowledge conditions at the Lawrence County Jail are a problem that impacts all of us, the community will never be able to find a solution.

Many taxpayers seem to believe that this decades-old issue is something that they don’t need to care about.

That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Providing funding for an adequate jail to keep criminals off the streets should be among the highest priorities for our county and the citizens who call it home.

What would happen if the state decided the jail had to be shut down? Based on current conditions and how far below state guidelines it is, that is certainly not outside the realm of possibility one day.

That would mean Lawrence County would have to house criminals elsewhere, which costs more money. It would also likely mean that some prisoners wouldn’t be incarcerated at all and put back into our community.

Sheriff Jeff Lawless is doing the best he can to keep the facility operational but the reality is it simply cannot handle the volume of lawbreakers our community is facing today.

The county must continue to look at alternative sentencing programs like home confinement and the work farm, among others, but that will never preclude the need for a functional jail.

Citizens will have to come to terms with this by opening their minds — and likely their pocketbooks — if we are ever going to find a solution.

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