Seek more public input on jail

To the editor:

The problems of jail overcrowding and courthouse inadequacies did not disappear when voters narrowly rejected the millage proposal on Nov. 6.

We have a responsibility as citizens of this county to work with our commissioners to address the crisis. Many questions need to be answered, such as:

•Why can’t Camp Kitwen serve as our county jail?

•Is there a site available that could accommodate a new jail and District Court, which, by law, must be located in the city of Houghton? How about land behind Walmart or the CC Mall?

•What are the inadequacies of the current courthouse? What is the best use of this building?

•What offenses have been committed by the people in jail? The public should know the annual statistics concerning jail occupancy.

•Is Houghton County providing incarceration for people from other counties? If so, is our county reimbursed for those expenses?

Houghton County residents have supported tax increases when we have been convinced of the importance of the expenditures, as for career and technical education and improvements to the Houghton County Medical Care Facility, partly because efforts were made to inform us of options and alternatives.

I encourage our county commissioners to seek our input, not only by holding public meetings but also by attending meetings of local groups like Rotary, Kiwanis, Copper Country Mental Health Board and the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce.

If our commissioners listen to us, I am confident they will be reassured by our desire to solve the problems of the physical plant of our county’s justice system.

COMMENTS