- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Several months ago I wrote a letter to the editor (Aug. 15) referencing the way the county commissioners were dealing with the process of building a new jail. In that letter I voiced my concern about them screwing up the process, and costing the county millions of dollars.
Well, it would appear I was right. Due to their inactivity, they delayed the bidding process so long that the cost of construction went up, so they were able to kill the program that they didn’t want to begin with. The cost overrun was approximately $6.5 million — that was their reason for killing the program. However, the state of Maryland was willing to cover half of that cost, because state officials were aware, unlike our county commissioners, of how badly we needed a new jail complex. In fact, our new jail complex was the only one the state was going to provide funding for.
The current jail does not work. It has not worked for years — the county now has to spend millions for improvements that are really just a Band-Aid. The citizens of the county should be aware that approximately $1.5 million was spent on the planning for this project — that money is gone. The state will not reimburse the county for any part of that.
Given the condition the jail is in, it’s amazing that people still want to work there. And given the condition the jail is in, it is amazing that the county has not been slapped with a lawsuit over inmate living conditions.
I know that a good number of people feel that if you’re in the jail, you don’t deserve to be treated in a decent manner. However, many of those people who are in the jail will be returning to our community, hoping they will not go back. The jail has many good programs to help these people, which are hard to implement due to the funding problems.
By refusing to go ahead with the new jail, the county commissioners own this problem — the sheriff does not.
Sam Sayers, Dameron