Who turned it into a circus?
While they appeared to be large in number, the prison ad hoc work group, in reality, is a
few county employees or people paid by the county for employment service and a few
non-county paid persons who volunteered their time. That fact cannot be disputed.
Months into the ad hoc prison work group meeting and monthly meetings, we learned through
RTK requests and in a RTK letter from Commission Chair Al Ambrosini, that meeting minutes
were not kept.
Then the next massive RTK answer; requesting ad hoc prison work group reports, turned up
several Architectural Team reports, but only two or three other very brief reports, from
the Financial Group. Now, the controller has said that one received in the RTK answer,
starting with the greeting "My Fellow Working Group Members," is, in fact, not a prison ad
hoc work group report, but something he wrote to the prison board. It would mean even one
less prison ad hoc work group report if, somehow, he is correct.
So few prison ad hoc working group reports existed, as per the RTK answer, for anyone
here to say that enough planning has been done. In the massive RTK answer existed not one
single work group report from the other two ad hoc prison work groups. Nothing from the
courts and nothing at all from the behavioral health director.
Another RTK request -- i.e., to learn how many prisoners incarcerated would qualify for
the Day Reporting Center (DRC) -- was sent. The RTK answer was that nobody at the
county knew, and, so amazingly, nobody seemed at all ashamed to admit so.
That Franklin County's DRC opened in 2006 to serve 129 persons and Fayette was
contracting, starting last month, to serve only 50 charged was interesting.
Did the difference mean that Fayette County has so many more violent offenders in jail, in
comparison to Franklin? Or was it funding that kept the first-year target number so much
lower than Franklin's? Who decided that number since the county budget does not fund the
program? How was it determined 50 was to be enough, or perhaps even more than enough?
Was that all that insurance wanted to approve? Of the 300+ prisoners we have, we have no
more than 50 who would qualify for DRC? We don't know because the RTK answer said they
So who limited DRC participation to 50, and why wasn't the number at least 129, too?
Opting for 50, when Franklin started at 129 and built a smaller new jail than Fayette
wants to build, seemed counter-productive.
It was as though everyone waited to get the Crabtree report and waited for that report to
gather information for them... long after their decision was made to build big, build outside
the county seat and not advertise any of the monthly prison ad hoc work group meetings as
a public meeting.
All the secrecy of bar meetings and gagging the public's live input with armed guards at
public meetings are sore spots for a lot of people, regardless of political party or age. More
than a few have written in to say that they have never been so disappointed in their county
leaders before. Ask a few realtors if anyone has had second thoughts about buying a new
home in Fayette because they're afraid of tax increases. Ask if rental homes are going on
the market because people who own just one or two rentals want out of the business while
they can sell the properties.
Some are so upset because they feel it's all so out of their hands, that they had no input
and are used strictly as a financial tax means to pay for the complex. Some look at
statistics from counties such as Franklin, that 6 and 7 years later, since the DRC and new
jail opened, with no real lowering of the recidivism rates, and question why we need to
spend $60 Million to prove we're no different.
For what ever other reasons, too many people are walking around Fayette County these
days feeling that the only power they have left is to look forward to getting their
satisfaction next election day, by voting the majority of Dems out of office.
Sadly and quietly, some say that's how used, defeated and mad they feel.
3 Oct 13
Homepage/Return to R&R