Letter to the editor: Jail questions

Lawrence Journal-World opinion section

To the editor:

Black Lives Matter banners are starting to unfurl here in Douglas County, and some residents may wonder just how relevant they are to us in this medium-sized university city. Here is just one set of figures that apply:

African-Americans represent 4.6 percent of the total Douglas County population, but, according to the most recent report from the Douglas County correctional facility, 21 percent of those booked into the jail were African Americans. Even if half of them were residents of Topeka or Kansas City, booking the half that were Douglas County residents would mean they were incarcerated at twice the rate of white residents.

This discrepancy is one of the issues that must be settled before we head to the polls to approve any jail expansion. Nobody I have discussed this with is against spending the money to improve our justice system and provide equitable outcomes for all, but we need answers to tough questions before we vote.