Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

$300m County Jail millage vote: Feb 22

18. November 2004 • Murph
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On February 22, Washtenaw County voters will get to vote on a 0.75-mill, 20-year tax proposal, which would provide $300 million for physical renovation and expansion of the Washtenaw County Jail, along with some expansion of services. From the Ann Arbor News, Date set for jail millage decision:

The project would increase the jail’s size from 332 beds to 532 by 2014 and pay for an improved 14-A District Court site at the Hogback Road and Washtenaw Avenue jail site, a probation residential facility, and alternative treatment for inmates with mental illness.

The County Commissioners have already begun the task of convincing the public to vote for the proposal,

“I’m supporting the millage. ... It is a lot of money,” said Commissioner Rolland Sizemore, D-Ypsilanti. He added, though, people need to realize that if criminals aren’t in jail, “they could be in your neighborhood.”

“We’ve got to do something,” Sizemore said. Commissioner Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, who expressed concern in October that a .75-mill levy would be a hard sell, said Wednesday he decided to support the proposal because of its emphasis on services and programs aimed at ending recidivism.

$48.1 million of the millage revenue would be used for physically upgrading and expanding the current jail and the 14-A District Court, while the rest would be used for operating costs and alternative treatment plans.

  1. While I can support renovating the existing jail to bring it up to code, and definitely can support alternative treatment programs, I’m going to need a lot of convincing to not vote against this. For example, how many of those inmates are in there on drug possession charges? If the answer is > 0, this left-libertarian would like to suggest to the County that they could easily cut their costs a bit.
       —Murph    Nov. 18 '04 - 07:31PM    #
  2. Agree with Murph. If they want more space, they should put fewer people in jail. I’m a “no” vote regardless of any attempts to convince.
       —AP    Nov. 18 '04 - 07:36PM    #
  3. I say NO to the Prision-Industrial-Complex. They already have enough room for the socialpaths and predators out there. I say they want more space so they can threaten people who don’t pay their parking tickets with jail time. We have enough people in jail in this country! Keeping them from expanding the jail will force them to look at alternatives to locking people up. Isn’t awful interesting that right when they whine about a lack of space that is the exact time the proposal is made to expand the facility?
       —Chuck    Nov. 18 '04 - 09:17PM    #
  4. AP and Chuck,

    Just make sure that you don’t simply vote “no” to this. We all need to vote “no” AND call up our County Commissioners and say “we voted no because we think that a larger jail is not the solution,” and offer them some ideas on how they could create a proposal that we’d actually like.

    Because a yes/no vote isn’t really a very good measure of public opinion. We need to provide richer data.
       —Murph    Nov. 18 '04 - 11:15PM    #
  5. I’m planning on voting no as well. Because if those criminals aren’t in jail, they’ll be at home smoking pot.
       —js    Nov. 19 '04 - 11:48AM    #