Use existing resources for jail

To the editor:

I am writing as a very concerned tax payer of Houghton County. I also want to go on record as a supporter of Sheriff Brian McLean and the whole Houghton County Sheriff’s Department. The level of coverage and professionalism they provide our community is very reassuring.

The issue with current jail conditions needs to be addressed sooner than later, I am sure everyone agrees with that. I understand that the previous jail study looked at all the options including Camp Kitwin. The jail study was also completed during a previous state government administration.

The state of Michigan stresses the importance of consolidating services to provide the best use of our limited revenue. Why can’t our state representative sponsor legislation to have the state transfer the camp property to Houghton County? The camp could be remodeled to serve as a jail to not only serve Houghton County, but Keweenaw, Baraga, and Ontonagon counties as well.

Past concerns such as heating systems and sewer can be modified and updated even justified by not having to pay millions of dollars for a “new” jail property. Technology can also provide inmates direct contact with court dates via one of the many conferencing technologies. Travel time and jail security can be maintained with this as well given current jail staffing.

The solution to this issue isn’t easy, but I believe our current state representative should have this conversation with Sheriff McLean and citizens of Houghton County. Utilizing existing resources is an option I believe many would support rather than spending millions on property and millions more on a structure.

Greg Markkanen