Monday, October 03, 2011
Stoffa's Budget Includes $1.8 Million For West Easton DUI Facility & Treatment Center
According to Stoffa, it does, noting that we're staring down the barrel of federal lawsuit, similar to what happened to Lehigh County a few years ago.
"We have an old jail that probably we could be sued for, number one. Secondly, we will end up having to send people elsewhere, which is always expensive. You gotta' take them there, you gotta' bring them back. If we were to build, which was the original [Reibman] plan, on top of the existing structure, we would have to move all those prisoners out, 500 of them, because you can't build when you have people below you. It's a liability. To me, the idea of expanding the jail at its existing site is not feasible.
"More importantly, the recidivism rate on the County jail level is 69%, which means that if 100 people come to the jail, within a year, 69 come back. It's an unacceptable number.
"The idea behind West Eaton would be more treatment, more drug and alcohol involvement because 80% of the people in the County jail have that problem. The West Eastn thing is a philosophical change in how we treat people, and it's an alternative to building very, very expensive jail cells.
"Over in West Easton, the intent is more like a military barracks. It's open space. It's bunk beds. It's work release. It's for the low level offender, for the DUI case and the nonsupport case. That's what we're trying to do in West Easton, to relive the pressure off the jail."
In addition to sticking to his guns on the need for elbow room at the jail, Stoffa has continued the County's commitment to another kind of elbow room - open space for farmland preservation, environmentally sensitive land and County-owned parks.