Letter to the editor: Don’t expand jail

To the editor:

Is the jail expansion a good deal for taxpayers? New jail expansion equals $44 million. Operating cost for the expansion ($6.1 million per year) over an eight-year period equals $48.8 million. Finishing the unfinished 28-man cell block at a later date equals $3 million. Total eight-year cost for the expansion is approximately $95.8 million. The cost of farming out inmates to other counties is around $1.2 million per year. Over an eight-year period that equals $9.6 million.

The jail continuously farms out inmates to make room for the first-time and second-time DUI offenders and other “weekenders.” I say hold off on the jail expansion, save $10 million-plus a year and figure out alternatives to reduce the jail population such as the Johnson County Weekend Intervention Program that former Lawrence Police Officer Robert Heafey was sentenced to. A program like this would reduce the need for the jail to continuously farm out inmates to make room for numerous DUI offenders that report to jail every weekend and offer them a solution.