I believe circumstances at our jail have reached the lethal stage. We have been dithering about the problem for 20 years; meanwhile, the odds for a catastrophe increase every day.
Jails are designed to keep people in. In an emergency, they are not quickly evacuated, not in older jails. A mock fire drill done two years ago came up with people dead, both employees and inmates. The time needed to get them out of there was too great.
So what happens after disasters like that? You don’t have to be brilliant to know that lawsuits will follow. A few large damage awards will bankrupt our county. They will cost far more than a new modern jail would have, and we will have nothing to show for our outlay but empty coffers and a ruined county.
We can deal with the problem now and build a new jail or continue dithering, keep having pie-in-the-sky philosophical conversations. It’s our choice.
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