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Letter: ‘No’ on new county jail

Richard Elfering re jail bond

Published on November 2, 2018 8:51AM


I urge a “no” vote to fund a new jail. The current county jail is overcrowded with inmates who should not be there — misdemeanors, probation and court-release violations, failure to appear and the like. Move all that to the Warrenton Oregon Youth Authority facility.

The only inmates who should be in the county jail should be inmates enroute to state corrections. For the past 20 years that number has varied between 10 and 20 people. Reduced to these numbers, the current jail could easily be internally remodeled.

The Warrenton facility is already a sufficiently secure facility to handle the misdemeanants and minor offenders who are of less risk to the community and to their guards. It now has 20 cells for driving under the influence (DUI), detox and mental hold. It can be immediately used for community physical and mental health. It can refer inmates into reform programs. It can be used now by community corrections for detention, and for simple actions such as life skills training.

The proposal before you is for a new high-security, high-tech, prison block. This type of facility is for punishment only. It is a poorly developed plan; construction costs are still unknown. Planned employees fail to include tech maintenance, ready reaction force, and others. County funds will be drained to construct it, and drained again to operate it. And, proponents have already said it is not big enough. Kill this proposal. Vote “no.”

Richard Elfering

Astoria



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