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Oklahoma County is wrong ... again


Kyle Loveless February 5th, 2009

Here we go again. The powers that be in Oklahoma County have determined the taxpayers are going to have to foot the bill of a new detention center, to the tune of millions of dollars. I can hear...

Here we go again.

The powers that be in Oklahoma County have determined the taxpayers are going to have to foot the bill of a new detention center, to the tune of millions of dollars.

I can hear the reasons: The jail is overcrowded, the federal government is going to take over the jail, or, better yet, the jail is old and needs repair.

Excuse me, but do they think we don't remember yesterday, or that we just don't care?

It was not too long ago that the jail was constructed and everyone was happy "¦ until the prisoners started escaping through the windows. Remember that?

First it was structural problems, then the engineers said it was construction problems, then it was managerial issues that caused it.

We should not support the recent move to build a new jail or create a new addition, and there are plenty of reasons not to, but it comes down to a simple principle: Our trust has been broken.

First, let's deal with the logic behind a new jail.

It is overcrowded.

Yes, I know, I have heard and seen how there are three and four prisoners for each cell that is supposed to house two. However, let's deal with the two segments of the prison population that can be dealt with in a fair way, to reduce the prison population.

Illegal immigrants need to be turned over to the federal government or deported in accordance with recent state laws. Smaller communities and the state should be able to house their own criminals.

If we are going to have the laws and we want to enforce them, then communities should be held responsible and not just shift or bus criminals to a place that will take them to prop up their budget.

Second, don't mistake my hesitance on the new jail meaning I am soft on crime or want to release the criminals before they serve their time. If the penalty is harsh enough on the criminals, they will be less prone to repeat their offense.

Sheriff Joe out in Maricopa County (Phoenix) has built tent cities where inmates that are found guilty have to deal with the elements of nature and wear pink. We should look to him as an example.

There is a rush to judgment and the supposed solution to the problem will end up being a classic case of unintended consequences where our tax dollars will be wasted. Again.

Just recently, the people of Oklahoma County elected several new commissioners, and none of them were in office when the fiasco of the previous effort got us to where we are now. It seems like they have not learned the lessons of the past and are getting ready to jump into another sinkhole of waste of our money.

Ray Vaughn, Leonard Sullivan, John Whetsel and Brian Maughan, please use some creativity and come up with a solution that holds people accountable.

Loveless, a former state Senate candidate, is the CEO of Phoenix Consulting and business manager for Loveless Orthopedic and Custom Footwear.

 
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