Commission right to explore county jail options

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 8, 2003

The Pike County Commission's next board meeting on July 21 may hold the beginnings of movement toward improving conditions at the Pike County Jail.

Built in 1957, our jail holds more prisoners than it's design allows, a condition that can only create problems if not addressed.

County administrator Henry Sanders boils the issue down to finances, and rightly questions the need to look for funding sources for not only construction of a new facility, but continued maintenance and operation expenses.

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New construction is expensive, but housing inmates in cramped conditions also has its downsides.

An interesting viewpoint was added by Sanders that for commissioners, a jail renovation or construction project wasn't about giving prisoners better conditions, but about establishing a local correctional facility that addressed the county's needs more adequately than the old jail does.

This, too, is a commendable viewpoint because jail for many prisoners has lost its punitive nature afforded by the loss of creature comforts.

The time is right for the commission to begin a serious study of the jail, and develop a game plan that will meet the county's needs now and into the future.