Thursday, January 19, 2012
West Easton Treatment Center Approved by NorCo Finance Committee
Noting that Atiyeh has already sunk $3 million into this project, Longenbach told Council it is "certainly a lot less expensive than what you would have to pay to expand the prison."
Executive John Stoffa told Council the purpose of this facility is to reduce recidivism, which currently is at 69% at County jails throughout the state. He noted that, with treatment, that rate drops to 22%, and ends up saving the County the cost of warehousing repeat offenders.
"You should be commended," McClure told Stoffa, noting that the amount being spent on this lease is roughly the same the County was spending to ship inmates to other jails throughout the state.
The only concern, raised by Council member Tom Dietrich, was that West Easton could arbitrarily decide to increase the $50 resident fee (paid by Atiyeh) to some ungodly amount like $1,000,000. Acknowledging that is possible, Longenbach stated it's unlikely. And McCure added that if something lie that happened, the County would just stop sending inmates.
Stoffa also told Council he'd like to try a community work program for these offenders. They could clean cemeteries, veterans' graves and clear debris from local roads. "We had it before and gave up on it," he noted.
The lease will be introduced at tonight's Council meeting, and is scheduled for enactment in two weeks.