Monday, October 03, 2011

Stoffa's Budget Includes $1.8 Million For West Easton DUI Facility & Treatment Center

In his Budget Message, Executive John Stoffa points out that the northampton County jail "contains one of the oldest original sections (built in 1871) of a jail still in operation in Pennsylvania. It is inefficient, difficult to staff and expensive to operate." But in a year in which there's a 9.3% tax hike and dangerous depletion of the rainy day fund, does a $1.8 million treatment and DUI center in West Easton make financial sense for the County, especially in a tax increase year?

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.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Of any of the spending in the new budget, this makes the most sense.

Anonymous said...

How is this a no bid project?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Don't be silly. Something as unique as this cannot be treated like paper clips.

Anonymous said...

to build a building is not paper clips I agree but why no bid?

Dave said...

D&A treatment program return rate now at 30% after running for three years at a half million a year. Womens program to start soon and part of next years DOC budget. Is it cost effective? Does the cost wash out due to 30% not returning to jail? My guess is it's close to a wash. MRSA law suit in progress right now. The old jail has to go! A breeding ground for disease and misery. When will the judges relent and stop sending everyone to incarceration no matter what the charges? That is the burning question that fuels overpopulation and rising costs to the tax payers.

Lady Rep said...

And you have a problem with 30% less people in the system...because why??? Not only that, MAYBE some of them might even be able to turn something around somewhere in their lives, and just maybe I won't have to support them since they won't be spiralling through the system over and over. I'd rather pay the same amount of money and possibly have something productive come out of it than paying for repeat offenses (their fault, not the judges)or just leaving them on the street in their misery to wreak havoc.

Dave said...

Just stating the facts madame! Don't kill the messenger!

In the know said...

"Just stating the facts madame! Don't kill the messenger!"

Can you please tell me where you found these "facts" I think your 30% number is way off. They are returning at the same rate as they are without the program.

In fact there was little to no interest in the "voluntary" program, so they have resorted to having the courts make it part of their sentencing.

They are also keeping inmates that refuse the program in months longer than their minimum release date.

The program doesn't work, never has worked, but the powers that be will continue to fabricate numbers to say other wise.

Dave said...

The 30% number comes from the Advisory board and CEC. It has risen from less than twenty to now thirty. Yes..it is not a wholly voluntary program and more are court mandated to complete the course or do harder and longer time. It costs less to house and supervise inmates in a treatment setting than in the jail and that's a fact Jack! Do the math..it's your money and mine! Slamming Stoffa is your right but he's correct on this one.

In the know said...

Dave,

The program is meant to prevent people from coming back to prison.

Isn't it counter productive if you are keeping those that refuse the program in several months longer, and letting those out that complete the program several months earlier. Seems like a wash to me.

The program numbers the public gets do not add up. Conveniently most of the inmates in the first few classes had state prison sentences. Therefore after completing the program they were sent to server their state prison sentence.

I ask you were those inmates included in the 30% figure?

Also several "graduates" had longer sentences to serve after they completed the program. Are they included in the 30% figure?

After all, you can't "come back" to prison if you have never left.

I beg of you to dig deeper and get the real numbers, as I am in no position to go public.

The numbers given to the public are obviously going to be increased in order to justify the programs existence.

I have to ask how it is cheaper to house an inmate in a treatment center, when said "treatment center" is in the jail? Actually the program you are speaking of is costing us taxpayers more.

The county is spending what it normally does to house the inmate, it is spending more to pay the company to run the program.

You are right, it is my money and not yours. So why am I paying to house the inmate, and another fee on top of that to "treat" the inmate????

As to your statement about my "bashing" Stoffa, I am not sure where or when I did so.

Anonymous said...

This will not lower prison census one bit. He is avoiding the inevitable, like he has for the past six years.

Dave said...

The Advisory Board meetings are open to the public as Bernie can attest. You want different facts? I suggest you do the leg work..why should I have to prove anything to a person who hides on line. I'm at the meeting every month and have been for nearly three years. Your twisted logic amazes me. I'm no accountant but even I see the tax savings in treating addiction and moving low level security risks out of the jail environment.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Dave, According to John Stoffa, the recidivism rate in NC is a stunning 69%. That's bad for everyone, fro the victims to the Defendants to the taxpayers, who foot the bill to pay fro the back end of crime.

Let's assume that the anon who pretends to be "in the know" is right and the recidivism rate after treatment is twice what the County claims. That would still mean a significant drop in paying for the back end of crime.

Plus, it's the right thing to do. We don't need to treat people like animals.

The notion that Stoffa is fixing the numbers to get what he wants is just silly. The person who claims to be "in the know" must know McHale, McClure, or one of the Gracedale Goons.

In the know said...

I never mentioned Stoffa as the one giving the numbers. I have never known Stoffa to attend the Prison Board meetings.

The Prison Board meetings are nothing but a dog and pony show to make the public feel like there is a "watch dog".

The board is filled with egotistical, arrogant people that wish they were important. Hell it is even filled with criminals.

The numbers a skewed by the prison admin. this has nothing to do with Stoffa. I never once "attacked" Stoffa in this.

The "leg work" you speak of is being done as we speak. I live it everyday. I see those that continue to return after having been to the "program"

You still have not answered my questions.

How can someone come back to prison if they have never left?

And, how is it cheaper to have this program in the prison when it cost twice as much for the inmates in the "program?"

And by the way..my name shows up the same as "Dave" AKA anon, so why do I get different treatment and allegations?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Because Dave is not anonymous, that's why. He is a member of Bangor Borough Council and has discussed that on this blog. He attends every advisory board meeting. He does not sign his last name to hs comments but has identified himself many times.

Moreover, when you state numbers are being artificially increased to justify this program, you are attacking Stoffa. He is the Executive. It is his responsibility to be as accurate as he can be, and to weed out anyone who plays games. Your implication is that this is all bullshit to justify West Easton.

You do not identify yourself but claim to be "in the know." I suspect you are playing a game. Ironically, you present no numbers yourself, just vague insinuations.

In the know said...

Ok, I am Mark and I attend Council Meetings monthly.

Now that I have given the same "credentials" as Dave I guess what I say is fact.

Or should I state it several times...bottom line is "Dave" and his comments are no different then mine. He has not identified himself, and nor have I.

But I have attended several Council Meetings.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Dave has identified himself. Many times. He is Dave Houser, a member of Bangor Borough Council. You are neither Mark nor in the know.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have deleted several comments from the anon who pretends to be in the know, but turns out to be a troll.

Dave said...

I don't agree with everything the county Exec. does or how he does it but this one is a no brainer. I volunteer at the jail and talk to inmates who are inside and those who are now outside the walls. I talk to people in the CEC program and alumni of the program. It is not perfect and people return to their addictions and trouble. There are also success stories and the tax payer needs to know that also. I appreciate your backing me up on this one Bernie. We don't see eye to eye all the time either but I know this one inside out and backwards and forward. Wishing away the jails problems is fruitless. The Admin. is being proactive because at a moments notice a mountain could be dropped on them from the State due to the horrendous living conditions inside the old part of the jail. It happened to Lehigh county and could happen here.

Anonymous said...

This is bullshit. I guess it is OK to treat old taxpayers at Gracedale like scum but by all means lets build the Abe Attiyah drug addict lounge for the criminals.

That is the logic of the Anfgle/Stoffa Administration.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I see. Treat inmates like scum instead of human beings.

Anonymous said...

The prison is a joke. The admin only believes what they want. The recidivism is close to 80%..and that same percent of the admin is corrupt. Too much rising in the ranks from within. They need to raise the bar..set higher standards and get some real professionals in key positions. Same old, same old..No matter what the burden still falls on the taxpayer. Advisory board is a joke, self inflated croonies that have no power. Sad to see we are at this point as a society. They need a full investigation , top to bottom.

Anonymous said...

Stoffa is more concerned about crimminals than sick old people. He is a joke!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Posted anonymously at 2:49 AM, when sane people are sleeping.

Anonymous said...

This west easton drug prison is a payoff to a political pal. What will he pay next?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Now an anonymous accusation of criminal activity.instead of spewing your venom here, why not go the DA? You won't do that bc it is also a crime to make false reports, so you slink here.

Anonymous said...

Maybe someone should do a post making fun of a certain Stoffa problem. Would you find that funny.

You attack a Reibman malady partially because of your Angle inspired anti-semitism. Maybe you can get condmmed like Angle did.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You're insane. Go take your meds.

Anonymous said...

Put DUI Center on Gracedale property(empty acres already owned by County). Put Human Services in SE1 and SE2 wing that is empty at Gracedale(not Hellertown),then Human Services would all be together, since Human Services includes Gracedale. Freeze all overtime, which is abused beyond belief(over $800,000 at Gracedale alone), for at least a year and hire someone to monitor it after that.