I have been reading in the papers about the need to build a new jail for Cherokee County. I understand that our county to the east has no vacant space for lease out for Cherokee rule-breakers. Therefore, the supervisors think it is time to expand our facilities as crime must be on the rise.
We've been here with this discussion in years past and now they must think it is urgent to act. Safety is on the minds of our law enforcement officers as opposed to saving money and utilizing existing buildings.
My first thought was to use one of the buildings on the MHI grounds. It is such a shame to see them deteriorate as we couldn't begin to construct any building that grand today. I've been told that asbestos would have to be dealt with and that is costly. I think it would be great to put them back in use. We could get a brownie point by thinking GREEN. But we have other buildings in Cherokee that are not not old which could be converted. There are former school buildings that could be converted as well. Then there are former business buildings such as Brown Auto or the Harley Davidson building. How about putting them to use?
Surely there are others. Install some cells with bars, a single bed cot, a simple urinal and wash basin. A camera system shouldn't cost over $20,000 and if it runs into a $100,000, that's better than millions.
If these jail birds are so high on dope and don't relish using a toilet, just have them scrub up their own mess or better yet, dig them a hole like in India or China. sooner or later, they'd come to appreciate a clean white toilet.
A three minute shower would be the max. They'd quickly learn to get out in time to have soap rinsed off.
Forget the TV , magazines or games. Exercise is what they need. Up at an early hour and find a ditch of two for them to clean out each day. Maybe they'd have less energy to get them in trouble. Perhaps we could use water board techniques to keep them in line. After all, the feds got away with it for some time.
It surely is a time to get by with what we can get by with instead of pretending we have to keep up with the city boys. Sioux City is thinking of spending millions on an animal retreat when they could convert an old Wal-mart store for an animal shelter.
If I was on that board, I'd be looking for the cheapest way to house them. Think back to the good old days when life in jail wasn't like a day spent at the nursing homes having every one wait on you.
We could even put some of them to work with the building. Food doesn't have to be that great as we don't want them returning month after month. Dried beans will keep them moving.
I don't think our jail is filled to capacity anyway and surely there are more important things to do with county money, such as keep it drawing interest before we go broke as others have. There has to be other issues to improve.