The necessity of a new jail for Alpena

The necessity of a new jail

I am writing this letter in support of the millage to construct a new county jail. This is perhaps the most important community question we have embraced in many years. Not a week goes by where I am not in touch with the jail on overcrowding situations. Today’s inmates pose a higher risk and put the citizens of this community in greater peril than every before. Having to pick and choose between inmates who should be incarcerated and less dangerous inmates is not desirable for this Court, or the District Court. The current facility is long past its useful life. The occupants of that facility for the past 61 years have literally beaten it to the ground. Our County Commissioners are regularly faced with spending general fund dollars to repair the facility, and that enterprise is simply pouring money into a black hole.

A new facility would greatly reduce the cost of transporting inmates, providing medical care to inmates, and saving on the expense of repair. It would also relieve overcrowding so that this Court, and the District Court, could house offenders for unpaid fines and costs, or non-compliant child support.

It is time that we as a community squarely address this problem and vote in favor of the millage to fund a new county jail. Peace officers, correction officers, as well as the vulnerable citizens of our community deserve protection.