To The Daily Sun,
Lately I have been following the antics of the Belknap County Commission and their conundrum over the Belknap County Jail. Since my work schedule does not allow me to attend the meetings I have been keeping quiet in your paper. But since my tax dollars are at stake and the fact that I have first hand residual experience with the facility, I feel I have a vested interest and am compelled to chime in.
First I would point out that these "elected officials" are supposed to be "grown ups!" From what I can see the bunch of them are acting like kindergartners — ones that all need a spanking and a time-out! And, Ed Philpot's ridiculous and truly ignorant comment at the Democratic picnic proves my point. Apparently it is a wast of time and energy to ask him to apologize as he is obviously not a big enough boy to admit he is out of line. Mama Kate (his party chairperson) has already done the job for him the best it is going to be. All that can be done now is for the taxpayers to remember that Mr. Philpot doesn't seem to own a pair of "Big Boy Pants" when it comes time to go back to the polls.
Let's stop attacking each other and come up with a solution to the problem at the jail. Though it is a fact that the facility is crowded and in need of repair, we need to bear in mind this is a "correctional' facility not a "rehab" center. It is "jail" — not the "inn". The superintendent can be quoted as saying, "If they can not behave on the inside, how can we expect them to behave on the outside?" A mouthful of "blah-blah" since he merely slaps them on the wrist when they grossly violate the rules and/or laws.
I have a perfect example to back up my statement:
A felon, arrested in possession of numerous stolen firearms in connection to the burglaries in several different communities is sentenced to a mere eight months in the county facility. After spending five months at the Belknap County Jail, she tests positive for drugs. What do you suppose was her consequence? No visits for 30 days with her two small children — who were totally confused and traumatized because they have been ripped from their home, lost their belongings, thrown into foster care, placed with family members, moved to a different family member, changed schools, and now have no sense of permanency. To top it off, they can't see their mama and feel that moment of familiarity for 30 days. She also loses 10 mere days of "good-time" which is restored after the 30 days that the superintendent has put her children through. So the only punishment for HER actions is to put on a six and seven year old. Yup, this is really going to teach HER a lesson. I really want to invest another $42 million into this sort of rehabilitation.
Prior to all the to-do about the county facility there was a big to-do over the former Laconia State School property. Property that the state has already invested our tax dollars into for a "prison" facility that too has now been abandoned. The question: "What to do with the property?" can be easily answered — move the county jail! In fact, at this site the jail could return to an old fashioned style "County Farm". The green house could be restored, fields could be plowed, crops could be raised with labor provided by the inmates we are paying for. They could restore the barns, raise livestock, become more self-sufficient saving the county money in the long run and actually accomplish some sort of rehabilitation. In turn the current county facility could be reserved and upgraded for the nursing home and the commissioners office.
Yes, I know the sheriff is there too. They could move as well — to the old Spear Building at the State School. Let's not stop there. Let's move the welfare office and DCYF to the rice cottage and the employment office to the Peterson Building and stop paying rent for square footage for these offices as well!
See, it seems stupid to me to let these buildings go to waste when we already own them through the state. Problem solved! Invest the $42 million wisely and address the REAL issue!