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  1. #1
    Member LEO Affairs Detective
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    Post "Programs" to reduce jail population

    Quote Originally Posted by “Zach Murdock”
    Sheriff Tom Knight told Sarasota County commissioners that the county has two options:

    • Reduce the jail population or
    • Build and pay for a new jail, a daunting and controversial undertaking that would take years and upwards of $80 million.

    Knight said he wants to avoid a new jail and wants to focus on:

    • work offender programs
    • re-entry programs
    • homeless outreach programs
    • specialty courts

    Knight said those programs are less expensive than borrowing money to build a new jail. “I believe it’s cheaper than building cells.”

    Corrections Maj. Jeff Bell said, “Arrest rates are declining.”

    Commissioners agreed they want programs.
    Full story:
    http://www.heraldtribune.com/news/20...il-at-capacity
    Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air.

  2. #2
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Zach Murdock View Post
    Sheriff Tom Knight told Sarasota County commissioners that the county has two options:
    • Reduce the jail population or
    • Build and pay for a new jail, a daunting and controversial undertaking that would take years and upwards of $80 million.

    Knight said he wants to avoid a new jail
    Instead of building new office space for Knight, which he moved into this week, we actually needed to build a new jail. Sarasota County is in desperate need for a new jail (for current planning, as well as for long range planning). Building new office space was a waste of money (although Knight likes it because it's a closer drive home to his home). The next sheriff is going to be screwed because we are not planning for the next infrastructural jail. Instead, we have new office space, when the old office space at 2071 Ringling was fine. Knight is focused on "what's new and shiny" instead of what's genuinely needed for our future infrastructural needs. Again, the next sheriff is going to be financially screwed because of Knight's infrastructural inaction.

  3. #3
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    Jail Capacity

    First -- Knight wants to spend more money on programs -- instead of spending money on a new jail to accommodate inmate growth -- how is that hurting Sarasota County in the long run?

    Second -- I understand that misdemeanor arrests are declining -- but longer-term felony incarcerations are increasing -- thus we are getting read to exceed jail capacity.

  4. #4
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    Building a jail v. Funding programs

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    Knight wants to spend more money on programs -- instead of spending money on a new jail to accommodate inmate growth -- how is that hurting Sarasota County in the long run?
    Long-range planning for building a new jail v. Program funding today:

    • Programs cost money and are only good if there is funding for them. Year-over-year (YOY) funding is NOT guaranteed. Once the funding stops, then all the program personnel disappear. ***POOF*** all the workers are gone.
    • A jail is not a program, but it is part of the infrastructure. Funding is guaranteed YOY to keep it operational. Jail infrastructure and operations does not just disappear. It remains YOY to serve the county.

    We've had so many different programs. They are money-sucking and are money-driven. Funding for them will eventually disappear (it always does). When that occurs, two things will happen:

    • First, the jail population will explode when program funding stops. All the people who used to go to "programs" will now be sent to jail, but there will not be enough space to house them.
    • Second, since Knight is not engaging Sarasota County commissioners to begin researching funding sources for jail expansion in the near and far future, we will be completely unprepared to handle jail overflow when program funding stops because we are already at overflow levels i.e. we will be unable to accept more inmates, regardless of court-ordered incarcerations.

    Knight's failure to plan for future jail infrastructure is a public safety time bomb that will explode long after he is out of office. But his failure to plan (today) for jail needs (tomorrow) will severely impact and hurt taxpayers in the future. This is a long-range planning issue that Knight is completely ignoring, at the expense of public safety in the future.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    Instead of building new office space for Knight, which he moved into this week, we actually needed to build a new jail. Sarasota County is in desperate need for a new jail (for current planning, as well as for long range planning). Building new office space was a waste of money (although Knight likes it because it's a closer drive home to his home). The next sheriff is going to be screwed because we are not planning for the next infrastructural jail. Instead, we have new office space, when the old office space at 2071 Ringling was fine. Knight is focused on "what's new and shiny" instead of what's genuinely needed for our future infrastructural needs. Again, the next sheriff is going to be financially screwed because of Knight's infrastructural inaction.
    Jail planning for the future needs to begin NOW for it to be implemented in the FUTURE. How come Mr. Tom Knight and Herr Kurt Hoffman are dodging this necessary evil? This is not a game and it should NOT just be about retirement options. Please stop using the system as a gravy train. You are here to serve taxpayers -- and not the other way around. So sad.

  6. #6
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    Thumbs up We lack present planning for future jailhouse construction

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    Instead of building new office space for Knight, which he moved into this week, we actually needed to build a new jail.

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    Jail planning for the future needs to begin NOW for it to be implemented in the FUTURE. How come Mr. Tom Knight and Herr Kurt Hoffman are dodging this necessary evil? This is not a game and it should NOT just be about retirement options. Please stop using the system as a gravy train. You are here to serve taxpayers -- and not the other way around. So sad.

    It's a tough political (location location location) and financial issue -- and that's why Knight can't handle it. It's above his head. It would take someone with foresight and intelligence, as well as political savvy. Knight unfortunately lacks two of those three characteristics. This is very bad for the future of Sarasota County. But at least Knight got a new office for his command staff. LOL

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    Instead of building new office space for Knight, which he moved into this week, we actually needed to build a new jail.

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    Jail planning for the future needs to begin NOW for it to be implemented in the FUTURE. How come Mr. Tom Knight and Herr Kurt Hoffman are dodging this necessary evil? This is not a game and it should NOT just be about retirement options. Please stop using the system as a gravy train. You are here to serve taxpayers -- and not the other way around. So sad.
    Jeff Bell was correct when he said:

    • Misdemeanor arrests are decreasing.
    • Misdemeanors require short stays in jail.
    • "Programs" keep miscreants out of the jail, which helps to keep the jail population lower.

    And most importantly:

    • Felony arrests are increasing.
    • Felonies require longer jail stays, which is why the jail population is increasing.
    • "Programs" will not solve this problem.

    Bell accurately explained why the jail population is rising.

    If Sarasota County commissioners ever defund "programs" (and they invariably will. It's just a question of "which year"?), then the jail population will explode -- and then we will not be able to house everyone because strategic planning is not being done today.

    Knight has a visually beautiful annual "strategic planning" document that he hands out each year, but it inconveniently and completely omits this impending problem.

    Knight will retire before the jail population hits the fan, thus leaving Sarasota County in a legal bind.

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