Letter to the editor: False jail claims

To the editor:

On April 26, the Journal-World printed a “Your Turn” column in support of Proposition 1. The column made several untrue claims, including:

  • The column claimed that the Douglas County Commission had decided to expand the jail “after several years of public study.” The truth is that the commission started plotting to expand the jail, and to unfairly combine it with a vote on mental health programs, approximately four years ago, long before any “public studies” were performed, and despite already-widespread public opposition.
  • The column stated that “this is not a vote for or against expansion of the Douglas County Jail.” This claim is completely false. A yes vote primarily would impose a jail expansion, at an ongoing cost of millions in both sales taxes and property taxes.
  • The column soft-pedals the ugly fact that the commission is now threatening to expand the jail even if taxpayers reject Proposition 1. To carry this out, the commission threatens to defund many county social programs. Can you say “hijack”? Can you say “hostage”?
  • The column touts some new inmate reduction measures, but without admitting that some of these programs don’t even exist yet. Ask yourselves: Why does the commission insist on doubling the size of the jail without even giving the alternative-to-jail programs a chance to work?

The Douglas County Commission is trying to force Proposition 1 down our throats. If we hold firm, Douglas County can develop both improved mental health programs and a reduced jail population.