Jail study off to good start

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 14, 2003

The jail study committee's first meeting proved that solving the issue of jail overcrowding will not be a simple task.

Money, convenience and crime trends are concerns that will dominate discussion in the committee's upcoming meetings.

But two comments in last week's meeting should be used to help the committee focus on their task at hand.

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Craig Oscarson, county coordinator, said members need to set aside the money issue or the option that is most popular and focus on what's best for the jail situation.

And the community members at-large said no matter what's decided, that decision needs to come as soon as possible.

The jail overcrowding problem isn't going away. Crime will continue to happen and the jail will continue to be filled to capacity. Until the problem is solved, the county will be sending prisoners to other counties, a costly, perhaps temporary, solution.

While money issues will weigh heavily on the decision, so does the future of the jail. Whatever is decided will impact the future of corrections services in the county.

We think the committee has made a good first step in identifying the problems with the current jail system.

We also think some members made a good start in determining how they should focus their energy and ideas.