There was once a time when jails were an economic plus for a community; those times apparently are at an end.
Many on our staff have toured our local detention center. Sheriff Ezell Brown and his deputies keep it looking spotless and the inmates under control.
The last thing that any taxpayer in Newton County wants or desires is to have the budgets of our law enforcement agencies cut.
The sheriff has had his budget cut, as have other agencies in the county, and he is struggling to make those cuts. We hurt as he is hurting but these cuts must be made in order to not saddle residents with extra tax burdens in these trying times.
Because of the cuts, the sheriff has had to close portions of the jail and create new places for the prisoners to be held. In a story that ran in Friday’s paper, and can be seen at CovNews.com, we learned that some actually have to sleep on cots and are living in crowded conditions. However, we must remember that prisoners are fed three good meals a day, are warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
We have law-abiding, hard-working families in our area living in worse conditions than our prison affords.
The editorial board is more concerned that having to group these offenders together in such a way puts our deputies in danger.
We don’t know what can be done about our jails because our prisoners are protected by so many federal and state laws. Prisoners living with cable television and access to the Internet, when many local families cannot afford the same luxuries, is wrong. We need our state officials to stop mandating the good life for prisoners without providing money to back up those mandates. Unfunded mandates burden the taxpayers of Georgia to the point that money can’t be spent for their own protection.
We recommend our state leaders study the practices of Maricopa County Arizona, which shows no tolerance for people who and break the law and thumb their nose at authority.
In Maricopa County they handle their overcrowding by placing tents out in the desert. Maybe we should send some of our disgruntled prisoners out for a visit, say in July or August. When they return, we are sure they will appreciate the comforts they enjoy.