To The Daily Sun,
As our fall elections approach, County Commissioner John Thomas continues to support a new county jail based on the Ricci Greene plan, which had an original estimated cost of $42.6 million but which Mr. Thomas said recently was buildable for between $30 and $35 million. Mr. Thomas justifies the
expenditure of this amount of money as being necessary to stem the ever-increasing tide of repeat offenders overcrowding our county jail. In other words, according to the reasoning of our current commissioners, the degree of success attainable in preventing recidivism directly correlates to the
amount of money spent on the correction facility in which the effort is being made. The Belknap County problem is such, according to this way of thinking, that we must spend $30 to $35 million to effectively address it.
One need not look far from home for compelling evidence to the contrary. In 2007 Sullivan County was poised to build a new jail designed to house 194 inmates, with space totaling 90,638 square feet at an estimated cost of $45 million. The parallel between the Sullivan County situation and the events taking place in Belknap County is interesting. Like the expensive facility being pushed by the County Commissioners in our county, the $45 million project in Sullivan County was put together by Ricci Greene.
Because of economic concerns relating to the high cost of their Ricci Greene designed facility, Sullivan County put together a County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee made up of local judges, correction officials, law enforcement representatives, a representative of the N.H. Public Defender
Program, mental health professionals, the Sullivan County Commissioners office and members of the Sullivan County Delegation. The end result of their collaborative effort was abandonment of the Ricci Greene $45 million project. Instead, the existing jail was upgraded at a cost of $1.7 and a minimum-
security 72 bed community corrections center was added to the existing jail, to house inmates involved in various rehabilitative programs, at a cost of $5.4 million. Thus a $45 million dollar problem was replaced by a $7.1 million dollar solution.
Clearly this sort of approach is viewed by the incumbent commissioners as addressing the problem "on the cheap" and thus inevitably inadequate. The Sullivan County Corrections Superintendent has said that he had some initial concerns as to whether the less expensive patchwork approach could accomplish the goals that Sullivan County had for its corrections facility. At the time Sullivan County discarded its $45 million Ricci Greene plan, the Sullivan County recidivism rate was running at approximately 80 percent; eight out of ten inmates housed in their county jail returned after their initial stay.
A facility that could accommodate good rehabilitation programs to reverse the recidivism trend was the
Now, four years after completion of the project and after saving $37.9 million by discarding its Ricci Greene plan, Sullivan County, with its renovated jail and its very basic new community corrections component, has reduced its recidivism rate from 80 percent to 18 percent. The lesson to be learned from the Sullivan County story is clear: an extravagant facility built at a high cost is not the key to corrections success. Rather, a basic safe and efficient facility and a talented and dedicated staff are the essentials.
Since under our form of county government policy matters such as jail planning are the responsibility of the county commissioners, with the county delegation having control only over the amount to be spent, it is vital that we elect commissioners who are grounded in practical reality and who are not
easily blinded by the false notion that more spending is the cure to all problems. With the right county commissioners, we can have a meaningful study done on whether any or all of the existing jail can be used in a cost effective manner. To date, no detailed analysis has been done addressing this important issue. Clearly this should be done immediately as the jail issue is being addressed.
We may find that through renewal of our existing jail and appropriate supplementation of the renovated facility, the long-term jail issue can be addressed for less than $10 million as it was in Sullivan County.
If a Sullivan County solution turns out not to be feasible for us, we can have a safe and efficient new jail with facilities to conduct the rehabilitation programs that we want and need for between $12 and $14 million. Either way, we can be confident from the Sullivan County experience that an exorbitant price and the crushing budget consequences of such spending are not necessary to corrections success.
Sullivan County is attaining significant success in stemming the tide of recidivism without Ricci Greene; so can Belknap County.
Last Updated on Monday, 01 September 2014 04:09
To The Daily Sun,
Oh come off it, Jon Hoyt. What planet did you live on where the opposition party didn't complain about the sitting president? Even you must remember Democrats criticizing both Bushes. Of course your of the mind that was okay because you disagreed with the Bushes. Where you go wrong is you elected a black man because he was black, not because he was capable, which he was not and is not.
Aside from giving SEAL Team 6 the okay to kill bin Laden, his every move has harmed at least as many folks as he helped and usually a great deal many more. The cost of energy has gone up as has the cost of food, clothing and most services. The national debt is over $17.3 trillion and well on the road to $18 trillion. The value of our dollar is down as is the nation's credit rating. Obamacare has insured many who did not have insurance but by increasing costs for nearly everyone who had it before, and increasing co-pays and increasing deductibles by hundreds sometimes thousands of dollars. He did this together with a Congress fully in the hands of Democrats and shutting Republicans completely out of the process. Oh yes, he lied about it to get enough support from the gullible to get it passed.
His list of broken promises is as long as my arm. Scandals, (real) scandals include Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS, the VA and on and on, for which he promised investigations and fixes and to hold those responsible accountable. Anyone held responsible for anything by this administration?
Our border is invaded by thousands of aliens, the vast majority unskilled and uneducated, while we have millions of Americans under employed, or unemployed and wages stagnated. Young black men are the worst effected with close to 50 percent unemployment. Has anyone seen any sign that Obama cares?
Obama's foreign policy has left the Middle East and North Africa in chaos. He treats our friends and allies like enemies and our enemies like friends. Hamas is treated like some poor victim and Israel and Jews like terrorists.
So here is Jon complaining that a majority of the American people don't like what Obama has done and wants to do more of. Just what doesn't he understand about this?
Last Updated on Friday, 29 August 2014 11:05
To The Daily Sun,
Bob Smith is a conservative with principles as unshakeable as New Hampshire granite. He has always supported protection of the weakest among us.
Bob has pledged to work tirelessly for the following principles:
— Cut taxes and fees.
— Oppose any tax increases.
— Cut spending and the size of government.
— Pass a Right-to-Work law in New Hampshire.
— Oppose all forms of Obamacare, including Medicaid expansion.
— Uphold both the New Hampshire Constitution and the U.S. Constitution.
Unions contribute tens of millions of dollars to the Democratic Party through forced union dues. Despite the fact that enactment of a Right-to-Work law would repeal government enforced union dues, which would result in defunding the Democratic money machine, Scott Brown has refused to sign this simple pledge. If Mr. Brown cannot support these principles, we really need to send him back to Massachusetts.
The other candidate in this race has been supported and funded by an organization which calls itself "Mayday." This organization has supported Carol Shea Porter and Jim Rubens. That should tell you all you need to know about Mr. Rubens.
Send Bob Smith to Washington, D.C. so he can stand with Jeff Sessions, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Tim Scott to save our country. He did it before. He'll do it again.
Charles H. Bradley, III, Esq.
Last Updated on Friday, 29 August 2014 10:59
To The Daily Sun,
It always amazes me that when my grandmothers were young women, they weren't allowed to vote because they were women. Women's Equality Day is a reminder of the amount of organizing and the numbers of people it took to reverse public opinion and secure for women the right to vote. It took almost a hundred years. Many early supporters weren't even around to see their goal achieved in 1920.
As we continue working toward progress for women and families, we need to bring that same mentality for the upcoming November election by talking to and rallying our friends, families, and neighbors to go vote. We can't afford to sit on the sidelines. The stakes are just too high.
We've already seen the destruction that Bill O'Brien and the Tea Party super-majority wrought on New Hampshire women and families when voters didn't turn out during the 2010 election.
It took the Democratic majority in the House to restore the minimum wage and to pass the N.H. Paycheck Fairness Act that ensures that women receive equal pay for equal work. As a candidate for the N.H. House, I want to make sure this progress stands.
Let's honor Women's Equality Day this week as a call to action for women to get involved in this election.
We know that when New Hampshire women organize, our state moves forward.
Last Updated on Friday, 29 August 2014 10:56
To The Daily Sun,
This letter is to support one of the candidates for the Alton, Barnstead and Gilmanton N.H. House seat. His name is Raymond Howard.
Ray is a born and bred native of New Hampshire. He has been a contractor, and self-employed, for over 34 years. Hard work and frugality are nothing new to this guy. He knows exactly what it takes to pay bills, including taxes. He brings that Granite State common sense with him to the Alton Planning Board, where he regularly applies it in defense of the local taxpayer. As a contractor, he has a keen eye for the details in everything.
For more than 17 years, Ray has been active in the Boy Scouts. This great organization offers valuable contributions for molding young men's characters, and Ray has been a part of that.
If you want a candidate that is fiscally responsible, a defender of the U.S. and N.H. Constitutions, and a supporter of local control, may I offer to you the candidacy of Raymond Howard.
I believe he is the best choice to represent us in Concord.
Last Updated on Friday, 29 August 2014 10:53