To The Daily Sun,
I would like to thank The Laconia Sun and reporter Michael Kitch for the front page picture and article titled "Go to Jail". There has been lots of misinformation about the Belknap County Jail. The media should not pick winners or losers but promote the truth. Having spent time in the military and slept in many barracks, I toured the jail last summer to find out the true living conditions for myself.
I met Dan Ward, the superintendent, and his staff. They are all dedicated hard working people. I did think the staffing was too light for the number of people being incarcerated. When I walked away from the tour, I thought there was a disconnect between the military and the public they serve. Why do people think prisoners should be treated better than service members? The jail is crowded but it was designed to have another wing added when needed. If bunk beds were added, it would truly look like a military barracks and more prisoners could be housed. Remember no one is asking these inmates to put on body armor and go on patrol. All they are asked to do is take a shower, eat three meals a day, and behave.
Dan Ward and his staff do need more support from the County Commissioners for their immediate safety concerns. I have heard time and time again the need for locks on jail cells and a security camera system for the protection of the inmates and employees. It is totally unacceptable to ask prisoners to pretend jail cells have locks on them. Video security systems are a must today and are inexpensive. The county needs to make these improvements to make things right at the jail.
Let's put an end to the 42 million dollar jail and start spending our time and energy bringing jobs back to Belknap County. People with a job tend to stay out of trouble and do not cost the taxpayers $32k plus medical expenses a year to house at the Belknap County Jail.