Beth Kangarlu for Dutchess County Legislature

        Beth Kangarlu for Dutchess County Legislature (East Fishkill )
  READ MY ADD IN SUNDAY POUGHKEEPSIE JOURNAL

Blog

view:  full / summary

Jail expansion

Posted by electbethkangarlu on September 18, 2013 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

ISSUES AND CONCERNS ON PROPOSED DUTCHESS COUNTY JAIL CONSTRUCTION

The proposed jail would be the largest capital project ever undertaken by the county.The number of inmates exceeds the current jail capacity.  However tax payers should not be asked to continue to pay for transporting and housing Dutchess inmates to remote locations. 

Crime is a social problem that needs to be addressed at its root in the community and the criminal justice system must be scrupulously fair and non-discriminatory. Improving the overall efficiency of the criminal justice system in the county can result in solutions that will enable us to provide adequate bed space.  For example, the recommendation by the Criminal Justice Council and Ricci Greene for the use of Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI) would reduce the need for more jail beds.

A startling statistic is that 80%  of the jail population is un-sentenced. We need to implement recommendations for streamlining the arraignment process.  Creating effective solutions and providing support systems should be enforced.  Studies show that

·         More than 80% of inmates had been treated for mental health or substance abuse issues before they were incarcerated.

·         At any given times, more than 20% of inmates are receiving psychiatric care.

Many of the current inmate population would be better served with substance abuse or mental health care, rather than incarceration.

Reports show that inmates under the age of 21 represent from 15 – 22% of the jail population, and women average 10% of the population.  It is important to remember that all the inmates are individuals with unique needs and situations.  We need to look for opportunities to create programs to provide social support and job trainingto ultimately reduce recidivism.

The County has a responsibility to fund and support programs that have a positive effect on individuals by providing assistance in the following areas:

·         Mental healtth-·  Substance abuse -  Education- · Transitions, e.g., from incarceration to employment-  Alternatives to Incarceration

Keep in mind that it costs $82,000.00 a year to keep an inmate in a prison.  That is higher than the cost of a year’s tuition at an Ivy League university. Looking closely at this issue, we find that we don’t have jail issue in this county, rather, we have criminal justice issue. Implementing the recommendations already made should save the county and the taxpayers money, and result in fewer inmates in need of incarceration.

 


Rss_feed