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Letter: ‘Yes’ vote urged on jail tax

If I understand the situation, and I believe I do, most of those arrested and sent to jail are released almost as quickly as they get there. As with children, if there are no negative consequences for their actions, those who shoplift, commit vandalism, DUI, domestic battery, most thefts, and other “petty until they involve you” crimes, have no reason to change their behavior.

Welfare benefits and government disability payments cannot be taken for payment of fines, and an individual cannot be forced to perform community service. More than one miscreant has stated “I’ll just sit in jail” knowing full well there is no available space.

Law enforcement and the prosecutors are doing their job, otherwise there would be no arrests. The sheriff is presently doing all he can to cope with a limited space for prisoners. Our jail has been considered “overcrowded” for quite awhile, and it’s just a matter of time before an inmate and his slip and fall attorney sues the county, read you and me, and wins more money that they would earn in five lifetimes. That judgment will result in either higher taxes for all of us, or a reduction in police, fire, road maintenance, and many other necessary services.

I am as opposed to increased taxes and government spending as anyone else, but the jail situation is one that has to be addressed. Either we will take care of our problem locally, or someone else will do it for us. I urge a “yes” vote on the 3/4-cent tax.

Cecil Bolen

Van Buren

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