I attended the meeting of the Belknap County Convention on Monday night. The presentation by the House of Corrections warden, his staff and Ricci/Greene Architects was clear, to the point and realistic. It is a 70 year projection (as was emphasized time and again) by the architects and warden.
Yes, it was Worsman's suggestion that Belknap County would save tons of money by continuing to send those offenders to Strafford County for much less money, but that's just not practical or feasible. "Out of sight, out of mind" under the guise of not spending the money for a correctional facility to replace a building that has a multitude of building code violations, inadequate space, impractical and useless features just doesn't make sense.
Ricci/Greene Associates drove home the point that their model is based on getting the offenders the much needed help while incarcerated, then rehab leading to re-entering their respective communities a more productive citizen. I believe this is often referred to as "breaking the vicious cycle of recidivism". Ricci/Greene's many years of developing successfully operational facilities all over the country was impressive.
What the convention might have misunderstood was that the projected 180 person building would be built with the future population increase in mind instead of having to add on or come back in a few years to ask for additions as a result of overcrowding. I believe it's called being cost effective...right?
The convention just did not seem to understand the very fact that each new generation will have citizens who will be in need of this type of facility; the model ideally does its job of housing, rehabbing and returning this population to society at large. This model is being used in parts of the country with statistics to which prove their rate of success.
Both Rep. Greenmore (R-Meredith) and Chairperson Worsman (R-Meredith) asked questions of Ricci/Greene that would take a crystal ball with which we would be able to look into the future and in turn correctly predict it's outcome. . . if only we could, how idealistic our country, state and county would be.
Rep. Tilton's (R-Laconia) query of if the facility could be 'built in phases and if that would be more cost effective'....how?
Rep. Dennis Fields (R-Sanbornton) summed it up best by stating "the proposed plan is the best over the long run for the county and urged his fellow legislators to support it."
Most disturbing was that an open public meeting was not run by "Roberts Rules of Order"....why? And last but not least, watching one of the representatives in attendance falling asleep while at the meeting...huh?