Tuesday, November 18, 2008
County Commishes continue to play all cards in the deck to try and get a new jail approved. They are now down to using the ACLU and the City of Caldwell as their last set of trump cards to sway public opinion toward a new jail. They have spent around $3.5 million of your tax money on a jail project that is now in court over violations of constitutional issues.
A tour of the jail facility was made last week by members of the ACLU and Commissioner Elect Kathy Alder and others in the media. A Statesman article by Kristin Rodine yesterday quoted one of the ACLU people saying that it appeared the staffing of the jail was too thin for the numbers of inmates. Decider feedback on this was the budget is too tight to allow for more help. If that's the case, where will they get money to staff maintain and operate a new jail facility? People and vehicles to transport inmates from a remote jail into town will also be a budgetary issue.
Sunday, IPT had several excellent articles written by Mike Butts and Bryan Dooley on jail issues. THE GUARDIAN focused on an issue raised by the county deciders that they are prohibited from using 125 empty beds for inmates in the work release center by Caldwell City officials. A check into this by THE GUARDIAN revealed indeed the occupancy permit does not permit regular inmates to be housed in the work release tent. However, a chat with Mayor Nancolas and the City Finance Director as well as the Planning and Zoning Director for Caldwell revealed the county got all they asked for when the special permit was issued by city officials.
If the County wants to use the work release tent to house low level misdemeanor inmates, all they have to do is file for an amendment to the occupancy permit. There was no indication City Officals would deny their request.
Aces and Eights, (the dead man's hand), have the Commishes and the Sheriff backed into a corner. They are quickly running out of reasons they can't utilize those 125 empty beds in the work release center. Not many trump cards left to play on the jail project.
To their credit, the Commishes have lowered daily work release rates from $25 to $12.50 in an effort to get more offenders to utilize work release. Why the raised them to $25 in the first place is anyone's guess. We have to accept they now understand the error of thier ways and the rules of cost and demand do actually apply to this situation.
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 9:26 AM