Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The City and the Prison

The prison was discussed at the city council meeting and two very important points were made. First, the involvment of the city government to this point has been minimal. There has been no request for the city owned land, and no real coordination either formal or informal about the impact of a prison on the city services. COSADC did pass a resolution supporting a state prison here, but that's about it for the city.

Second point is that there is no need to do additional scientific polling on the prison issue as the results so far are overwhelming. Two petition signature drives and the Mayors mail in petition are clear, if not "scientific." The Mayor wanted a scientific poll to get a sense of what the citizens want in addition to their feelings on the prison, but the rest of the council was unconvinced. Polls have been used for similar purposes in the not too distant past, with results that were mixed at best. More on that in a later post.

There are still questions the city needs to ask. I have heard nothing yet on how having a prison within the extra territorial jurisdiction of the city will affect our public safety services. What additional training and equipment will be needed by our police officers and fire fighters to deal with potential problems at the prison. What procedures will be in place for when a sick or injured prisoner is transported from the prison 10 miles accross town to community hospital? Will they expect our fire fighters to provide EMS and ambulance services? Who will pay and how? These questions need to be answered.

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