Letter to the editor: Jail overcrowded

To the editor:

As a nurse I have worked in two county jails and two state prisons over a 20-year period. There is inadequate space in the Douglas County Jail to offer the necessary programs to assist our temporarily incarcerated citizens and keep them safe physically.

In each of the facilities where I have worked the No. 1 concern of all corrections officials is safety. Just safety. Officers, mental health providers and other medical professionals see increased danger when incarcerated citizens do not have enough space for routine daily activities or if there is overcrowding.

Offenders who are housed outside the county have delayed responses regarding contact with their families, their attorneys, receiving timely medical care and potential re-entry training. The smaller county jails cannot provide the same quality of medical care they receive in the Douglas County Jail due to lack of staffing in the smaller facilities. If you don’t understand this, it means you do not have close ties to people who are currently housed in the smaller jails.

The law enforcement community does not want a larger facility merely to “lock up” people who are offenders. If you think a new facility is expensive, you will also find out what happens when somebody launches a successful lawsuit due to issues related to overcrowding, delayed medical care or any number of other causes. Check the internet. Most importantly, we need to keep all of our residents safe, both inside and outside of our jail.

Pat Mayo,

Lawrence

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