Clovis has ideas to counter rising jail costs

Project Reader Reaction

A recent Project: Reader Reaction question focused on voters having said no to Curry County’s proposed gross receipts tax increase and asked, “So what should the county do to offset rising jail costs?” Some responses:

“Our government should attempt to operate like any other business. When we don’t have the money, we don’t spend the money. The amount of money being taken from the average American today in the name of taxes is totally absurd. I don’t know what is causing the cost of the jail to rise but something is wrong when the prisoners have it better than they deserve.
“Perhaps a chain gang would be considerably cheaper. Yeah, I know, these people have rights. Well guess what? So do the people who work every day and don’t break the law. I think we got that message Tuesday at the polls.
“We have people hired to run this county and if they can’t run it efficiently like any other business has to run, then perhaps we have the wrong people hired to do the job.” — Don Reid, Clovis

“The jail itself needs to cut costs. Any illegal aliens should immediately be turned over to Homeland Security. The inmates should be moved to tents just like they are in Phoenix. Well-behaved prisoners could replace some of our low-skilled city employees by performing supervised duties. We could then garnish their wages and put that money back in to the prison.” — Richard Lopes, Clovis

“I was very disappointed that the proposed gross receipts increase didn’t pass. Not because I am fond of higher taxes, but because it seemed to be the fairest way to help remedy a very real and urgent problem. Rather than unjustly penalizing property owners, as a property tax hike would, the gross receipts increase would have fairly distributed the responsibility of remedying a very significant problem. Now we are back where we started and once again we have turned our back on the police and Correctional Department of the city of Clovis.
“This crisis is not going to go away as crime increases and jail cells overfill. Or do we really just want to shoot some of the prisoners and feed bread and water to the rest as a recent CNJ reader suggested? I hope not.” — Bill Middleton, Clovis

“First, I think stiffer penalties should be handed out (to convicted criminals) without 90 percent of the sentence suspended. If they knew they had to serve the sentence just maybe they would have second thoughts about committing the crime. While in jail, give them only what is necessary for survival. We lived under those conditions in Europe so they could commit their crimes without penalty.” — James W. McDonald, Clovis

“I guess it’s time to tighten (county) belts. The county should be looking at ways to cut costs in all departments and start prioritizing spending. Things that can be put off until next year, should be delayed. … If the county can find some monies in this manner, this coupled with some from their reserves could tide it over. In the meantime, the county needs to really educate the voters on their needs and points of view, which I don’t believe was successfully done this time around. Then, one year down the road, they could reintroduce the gross tax receipts question … perhaps with a better chance of success.” — Bob Baker, Clovis

“We have often said that if we need more jail space, we’ll pay for it, because we don’t want criminals running loose. Limited space and rising costs are dictating early release and/or probation for people who should be off the streets and behind bars. The negative vote on the tax increase apparently tells our county administrators to tighten up by identifying priorities and managing the available funds very carefully.” — Bill Gaedke, Clovis

“I am very surprised that the gross receipts tax did not pass because it would have been easier on everyone to pay a very small amount of money every time they shopped than it will be to pay a property tax that only a few will have to pay. Everyone wants the police to come when they are called, but we don’t have the money to pay for more police or to give those we have a raise.” — Ardyth Elms, Clovis

Editor’s note: The Clovis News Journal asks readers to respond via e-mail to a series of questions each week. To participate in Project: Reader Reaction, contact editor David Stevens at :
david_stevens@link.freedom.com