Sign the petition: Say NO to $192 million bond for a new jail and sheriff’s complex in Dutchess County

Say NO to $192 million jail bond

This petition is now closed.

End date: Mar 22, 2016

Signatures collected: 431

431 signatures

Send a message to your representatives to say NO to the $192 million dollar bond at the March 21st Legislative meeting. Tell them to reduce the cost.

The current plan to build a mega-jail complex will triple our county debt and require about $10 million in yearly debt service payments for 27 years.

It is the most expensive jail renovation in the last 10 years in NY state. It has a per bed cost that is almost twice the rate of the Ulster County jail expansion. Dutchess $409,382 vs Ulster $269,953 in 2016 dollars

Dutchess County incarceration rate is well above the average for NY state counties. On any given day, Dutchess County has more people in jail per 100,000 county residents than 33 of the 62 counties in the state, ranking in the bottom half.

Before Dutchess County builds a mega-jail, we need answers to the following questions:

  1. Who, exactly, is in jail, for what reasons? According to various reports:

    70-80% have mental health or drug/alcohol abuse problems
    37% are African-American, yet they make up less than 12% of our county population
    65% have been charged with misdemeanors (25%) or non-violent felonies (40%)
    80% are awaiting trial, and the avg length of stay before adjudication is about a month

  2. We have committed money through a bond already to establish a new Crisis Stabilization Center. Shouldn’t we wait to see the how successful it is diverting those with mental health and substance abuse issues from our jail?
  3. Shouldn’t money be put into programs like the former Youth Bureau Project Return, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, or Green Team right now instead of at some future time (after we are done paying the almost $10 million in debt service each year)?
  4. Why do we have to build a new sheriff’s building at all, especially a 58,000 sq ft facility with an 8,000 sq ft fitness/training area with weight room? And why is the design such that it calls for $1,000,000+ in bullet proof glass?
  5. What happens if the rosy picture that’s being forecast is wrong? Why does the legislature have to approve the entire $192 million bond issue right now, when there are so many unanswered questions. Also, why are they being rushed into approval so quickly, with so little time even to study the Environmental Assessment Form (EAF)?

There is a reason this will be the largest such project undertaken: because other municipalities saw the potential dangers and examples of how big projects like this can create disaster for taxpayers.

See also:
The Dutchess Democratic Women’s Caucus Opposes the Current Jail Bond
Jobs Not Jails
Vera Institute of Justice