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Commissioners To Decide
Controversial Jail Issue

by Kant B. Too

     

Updated on Wednesday*:

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In a special meeting held last week, county commissioners voted to consider alternatives for offenders convicted of non-violent crimes in lieu of serving sentences in the regional jail.

“Prisoners cost the county money that we no longer have in our budget,” said one commissioner, “We are forced to decide the best way to spend what little money we have. Our budget is already showing red and we are facing layoffs of county personnel, this may be a way to keep some funds in the county instead of sending money, better used here, off to the Regional Jail Authority.”

One of the alternatives to be discussed is being called the “get out of jail free” option. If someone was convicted of a non-violent crime, the magistrates would calculate the cost of the jail time and relate that amount to the commission.

The commissioners would then decide whether to offer the offender a choice of paying a fine of a portion of the projected jail bill with the time sentenced then becoming probation.

The commissioners said that if probationers commit another crime during their probation period, they would then serve the original sentence concurrent with their new sentence. Probationers will also be required to provide a minimum of 80 community service hours working to improve county secondary roads or parks. They would also have to attend, and pay for counseling in relation to their crime to help them stay out of trouble in the future.

“This seems to be a way of cutting down the huge jail bill we owe every month while also putting offenders to work on useful projects around the county,” said a spokesman for the commission, “We are looking into the legalities of the issue and asking the people of the county if we have their support on this. We know it might not be the perfect solution, but we simply cannot keep going into debt to house prisoners while laying off county workers and not being able to fund county parks and other worthwhile projects.”

Since the cost of housing a prisoner is almost $50 a day, it definitely seems a good idea to find an alternative, cost effective, method of rehabilitating offenders while improving conditions in the county. If this method of sentencing is approved by the State Supreme Court it is sure to be adopted by every county in the state.

 Everyone agrees that this proposal could save the county thousands of dollars each month.         April Fool’s

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