Archived Story

Who’s talking about the jail?

Published 8:16pm Saturday, October 12, 2013

To the Editor:

Over the last few months, several speakers have come before the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners “spouting” the exact same opinions concerning the building of a new jail. That parade continued at the latest commissioners meeting. Since these people have not been involved in the discussion process for the last two years, I have to wonder where they get their information.

Most of them have not attended any commissioners meetings, except to show up and recite their talking points and then leave. Even fewer of them have attended any jail committee meetings over the last two years. None of these speakers have visited the jail and seen the way inmates are crowed together with some having to sleep on a thin mat on the concrete floor. None of these speakers have seen the unsafe conditions that the jail personnel are required to work in, day in and day out. I doubt that any of them would want any of their family to work in such conditions. None of these speakers have visited the sheriff’s office and seen the crowded conditions that exist there and have seen how the condemned second and third floors are held up by steel beams that are keeping the roof from falling in!

How do they know we don’t need a new jail? What makes them think that downtown is the best place to build a new jail? Since they have not been involved in any of the jail discussions for the last two years, all I can figure is that someone must be telling them what to say!

Some county commissioners, failing to get their way, are using the jail as a political grandstand appealing to their voting base. Other commissioners however, are standing up and doing the job they were elected to do, to make the hard decisions that are sometimes necessary in running our county.

Some people say this is not the best time to build a new jail. They have been saying the last 10 years haven’t been a good time to build, and they’ll be saying the next 10 years won’t be good either!

I have been to almost all the county commissioners meetings and the jail committee meetings for the last two years. I’ve heard the pros and cons. As a result, I’m convinced that we need a new jail now! I have been asking others to attend these meetings to see how this decision was reached. A few people have, but not any of the ones complaining.

I commend the current jail committee and those commissioners who are systematically working toward building a new jail at the lowest cost possible to serve our county for many decades to come. I believe these commissioners are making sure the needs of our county are met, while also making sure that the taxpayer’s money is spent wisely.

Larry Britt

Chocowinity

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