Tag: jail expansion
Community Perspective submission by Corey Chandler:
We have heard from City Council and members of the criminal justice system the exuberant amount of money the city and Rockingham County pays to house inmates in Middle River Regional Jail for the Department of Corrections. These DOC inmates are waiting for transfers to state facilities and are held at MRRJ in the meantime, at expense to both the taxpayer and themselves.
The Harrisonburg City Council on Tuesday approved spending remaining federal CARES Act funds to buy property to help address homelessness in the community — a step some city leaders said they hope will lead to a year-round shelter. And housing insecurity was a theme at Tuesday’s meeting as council members learned more about the increasing numbers of residents teetering on the brink of or already in poverty.
Newton, who has worked as a jail administrator since 1996, said he’s believed since the beginning that people with mental illness should not be in jails. “I’ve been saying that for damn near 30 years. What do we have? We have the mentally ill in jail,” he said. “So, if we don’t create capacity, where’s that capacity? I don’t see anybody in the community standing up creating that capacity. But they’re in my custody and I’m charged with providing care … So, we’re still going to have people in my custody, that we don’t have the resources to provide the care, so what’s the solution? Continue with the status quo?”
Council approves 4-cent property tax increase for new high school; Mayor says MRRJ expansion is ‘off the table’
The Harrisonburg City Council on Tuesday approved a four-cent increase on the real estate tax rate, which will help restart construction of the new high school — all part of the final version of the city’s nearly $295 million Fiscal Year 2022 budget. Also in Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Deanna Reed announced why a proposed expansion of Middle River Regional Jail is a no-go.
The Harrisonburg City Council on Tuesday approved adding $100,000 more than originally proposed to local organizations as part of the first reading of the city budget for Fiscal Year 2022. Meanwhile, the council will pick up a debate at its next meeting about potentially increasing the real estate tax in order to help cover bond payments on the new high school. And the mayor made an announcement about potential next steps with construction at Middle River Regional Jail.
With an abrupt transfer of 180 inmates to Virginia Department of Corrections facilities last week, the Middle River Regional Jail reached its lowest population in seven years.
After a tour of the Middle River Regional Jail on Saturday, Harrisonburg city council members indicated that they still want to explore alternative options to the proposed $40 million expansion plans.