Archived Story

Jail options need serious planning

Published 12:12am Sunday, November 24, 2013

Looking at the options before the county commissioners for the county jail, several items are needed to reach a result that meets the needs of the county and community.

Commissioners heard from state officials on possible opportunities to receive capital funding for a new jail.

It is important that the commissioners ensure that all information is properly gathered and utilized to enhance the ability to receive funding.

Everyone agrees that alternative options are vital for the sheriff, but to make certain the proper approach is used to aid the jail project.

With the deadline for entry to the state on Dec. 1, county officials will need to work quickly to meet the formalities the state requires to be considered for capital funding.

Although state officials mentioned matching funds, county officials need to ensure an efficient plan is developed to provide matching funds without affecting other areas.

While the sheriff, like other county departments, has had to deal with reductions in funding, this project is something the county sorely needs.

While the project would cost the county money, officials would see savings in the future from paying other facilities to house county inmates.

The potential solution to this issue could be realized with the proper planning and implementation.



    The problems with the County Jail have been around for a long long time. Unfortunately this can has been kicked down the road for far too long, and like most problems that are ignored, the solution will be expensive. A lot of people will say we don’t need to upgrade the living conditions in the jail, jails aren’t supposed to be comfortable, etc. etc., but basic human decency should tell us you can’t have the number of inmates in the jail exceed the legal capacity. Also, some of those inmates are technically innocent and haven’t been convicted of a crime, awaiting trial. WIth the increase in crime and drug-related activity, the jail conditions/overcrowding issue will only get worse, not better. The county should work with state officials to come up with a solution; A new county jail, or a regional jail with costs shared by adjoining participating counties? The cost to build the jail is only the beginning. We also need to figure out how to pay for adequate jail staffing, without reducing the number of deputies available for road patrol. Not an easy task, but one that needs to be done!

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