Letter to the editor: Bail changes

To the editor:

With every level of government in Kansas seeking ways to get the most from tight tax dollars, we need to be sure we are getting the greatest benefit for our money locally. One way to do this was recently featured by John Oliver: revising our bail system. 

According to the 2014 Douglas County Correction Facility Report, 75 percent of the people at our jail are there pre-trial, at a cost to the county of $148 per day per person. Most counties that have pre-trial alternatives to incarceration (including risk evaluations, ankle monitoring, phone call check-ins, court date reminders and transportation) spend less than $10 per day per person.

People in these programs can continue to go to work and care for their children while awaiting trial. And, for taxpayers of Douglas County, many of those 75 percent who could be placed in alternative programs would not be using space at the jail, making a $30 million expansion less necessary.