Letter to the editor: Improving the jail

To the editor:

I am the co-leader of the men’s writing group at the Douglas County Jail, and I plan to vote “yes” on the jail addition. Here’s why:

I have seen firsthand the harm done by the “farming out” of inmates due to overcrowding. The jail has a number of excellent cognitive programs to change the inmates’ criminal thinking, and the inmates most likely to benefit from them are the guys in the “minimum” and “medium” pods, but they’re the ones most likely to be farmed out. (Wardens in other facilities understandably don’t want inmates from the “maximum” pod.)

The end result is the recidivism rate is going up because the cognitive programs aren’t as effective as they once were — because the farmed-out inmates miss many of the sessions.

Think of it this way: If you were a teacher, how poorly would your students perform on their final exams if they had missed half the semester?

Remember, these guys are not serving life sentences. Eventually they will return to our community. Surely you want the programs to be as effective as possible.