Letter to the editor

There are many buildings of various usage: public offices, retail establishments, schools, residences, etc. in this area that are much older than our “dilapidated, unsalvageable” jail — some more than double its age. While three local mayors recently decided “it was never built correctly in the first place,” I would suggest it has lacked proper maintenance for 56 years.

With the same governing body, even though people change frequently, should we expect a different outcome for both a new structure and its maintenance?

If housing out-of-county prisoners is and has been so profitable that we should invest several million dollars (perhaps as much as one-third of the proposed $70 million for building, operation, and hopefully recidivism curbing programs, plus $4 million reserve) to provide for such housing, how could such “deplorable” conditions have developed? Surely that “windfall” would have provided for substantial maintenance and updating.

Even if such housing appears to be profitable, are the associates of crooks and felons the people we wish to familiarize and invite to Shiawassee County to contribute their “business and activities” to our community? While extra costs associated with such activities are certainly difficult to quantify, shouldn’t they be considered?

Having worked for more than 20 years with various rehab programs in many homes of underprivileged families in the area, I am confident in saying that far more — a few thousand honest and working citizens as opposed to a few hundred crook and felon inmates — live in as, or more, deplorable conditions than those found in the existing jail. Priorities?

Finally, although there are exceptions to any general statement, the great majority of crime is motivated by desire rather than need. While health and safety are essential, perhaps a visit to substantially less than “four star” accommodations might be just as effective as the $6 million proposed recidivism curbing program is in discouraging return visits.

Fred Beyers

Caledonia Township

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