Friday, April 27, 2007

Northampton County Prison Population Sets New Record

Northampton County's latest prison expansion, just completed in June 2006, has a total capacity of 819. Less than a year later, it's over capacity. Director of Corrections Todd Buskirk tells me that yesterday, the prison population reached a new record of 827 prisoners. Of this number, 120 are authenticated or suspected gang members.

How's that for great county planning?

Update: The Morning Call has a detailed and well-written report on the prison "expansion," which was nothing more than a band aid.

18 comments:

Chris Casey said...

Be careful what you say Bernie, they might be increasing it by one!

Tom Dietrich said...

Don't worry Bernie, some of us would bail you out. ;)

As for capacity < actual population? Do the math. Once we get more of an influx of residents(we're a fast growing county). Do the math. Think about the area's visitor level increases due to a coming Casino. Do the math, again.

Lack of Vision by some?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Chris & Tom,

1) I've already been invited to take a "tour." I'm not falling for that. They'll lock my ass up.

2) The overcrowding is an indictment of the previous council and exec, who knew this last expansion was just a band aid, but went ahead with it anyway. We need a much larger prison, and we can't build one that big on the current campus. But no one has the political way to build another facility somewhere else. They fear the NIMBYs.

Chris Casey said...

You know, they could always build "UP!" World's tallest local prison? That says tourist attraction to me! scenic views ofthe Delaware river! Put the BBall, tennis and racquet courts on the roof! You could pay for it renting out "suites" to wealthy criminals!

Anonymous said...

And if you believe the anti-casino advocates, the prison will need to triple in size once the casino opens.

Tom Dietrich said...

Casino, Disney Land, or any touristy area....

An increase of any population, even temporary like tourists, can result in an increase of bad people. It might be linear, or exponential, but common sense says we have a potential for MORE bad people with time, and new attractions.

Bernie is right, it was a 'band aide' and many people knew it, and even more knew it as time progressed. However they continued to direct money into areas that could have waited, rather than invest into keeping bad people off the streets.

Anyone think the Court House refurbishing money could have been spent better, or elsewhere? Just tossing it out for discussion...

Anonymous said...

Yo home boy! I agree with all the comments but remember half of the previous council is still the current council. They may have excuses but they carry some of the blame.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 5:11, I agree completely.

Julian Stolz said...

two words, Golf Courses

See Carlin, George

Billy Givens said...

When City Council amended Bethlehem, Pennsylvnia's zoning ordinance to allow a slot machine gambling casino on 126 acres, subdivided from the 1600-to-1800 acres that International Steel Group bought from bankrupt Bethlehem Steel and then sold to Sands BethWorks LLC, council also explicity prohibited the construction of a prison on site.

In so doing, Council President J. Michael Schweder and Council Members Magdalena "Maggie" Szabo, Robert Donchez, and Jean Belinski thumbed their nose at their sister city Easton.

In short, Bethlehem is too virtuous to host a prison and Easton is not.

That's the clear message, pure and simple.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Billy Givens made a short, understandable and to the point comment. Either he finally had a lucid moment or I'm on drugs.

Anonymous said...

Well, if you're in city government, do you really want to host a prison if you can get some other city to do it?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Billy's point, for once, is short and sweet. But is it true?

Anonymous said...

To Anon 12:53 from Anon 4:22

From a taxpayers viewpoint, the answer to your question is YES, I do expect if you receive money from the benefits of the casino, then you should accept the responsibilities that go along with that. Additionally, Lehigh County got a sweetheart deal too, receiving money without a casino in their jurisdiction. In the next few weeks, the counties are getting together to see if regionalization of services can be accomplished. Can't a post-adjudication facility be built in the old Salisbury Annex by both counties to save taxpayers money? Just a thought.

Jesus, I'm rambling and I thought Billy Givens said something rational. Quick, somebody shoot me. Shoot me now!

R Moral-i-tee said...

Jesus, I'm rambling and I thought Billy Givens said something rational. Quick, somebody shoot me. Shoot me now!

2:46 PM
--------------------
Don't get our hopes up, Anon The Stale Cruton

Gort said...

Keep locking people up for anything. Minor drug offences, child support, the list is endless.

Anonymous said...

The real crime with the whole prison expansion ------ The fact that a 19 year old building was sacrificed to make this fiasco of a prison and the $80,000+ a year being spent to house records in another county - somehow the paper keeps forgetting that cost in the mix!!!!!!!!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

You're right. But don't be too hard on the papers. Theree's been so much waste and folly it's hard to keep track.