New jail would be much too large

Carol DeProsse, 17 October 2012  •  Comments

When you like the sheriff (and I do), it’s hard to vote against his desired new jail, but I will be voting "no" on the proposed $48.1 million jail/justice center for the following reasons. We currently house on average 160 inmates per night, in and out of county. The passage of the ballot issue would permit a multi-million dollar facility to be constructed, one that will up our capacity to house inmates by more than 1.5 times: build it and we will fill it.

Johnson County has a very high incarceration rate of blacks, who comprise roughly 5 percent of our population, but comprise about 40 percent of the jail population. No one should doubt that a jail with 243 beds will invite more race-based arrests.

Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek urges me to vote yes and work on the social issues afterward, an approach that I find a distasteful way of combating social injustice.

However, in the interest of justice I will be voting "yes" to retain all Iowa judges.

Put a smaller dollar amount on a smaller jail, and I think more people would support it.

Carol DeProsse
Iowa City