Tag: Middle River Regional Jail
Making improvements to the Northeast Neighborhood, funding childcare programs and upgrading parks and recreation facilities topped city council members’ priority list for how to use the $23.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds Harrisonburg will receive.
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.
While the rate of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County residents incarcerated at the local jail and Middle River Regional Jail has remained fairly flat since 2014, the city is having to cover the cost of more state inmates who have no connection to this community but are being housed at the regional jail.
In the third floor courtroom, Rockingham County Circuit Judge Bruce D. Albertson worked his way through a docket of 28 criminal hearings. About a third of the way through the docket on that hot morning in late July, Albertson extended the length of one woman’s probation because she could not yet finish paying restitution she owed from a 2018 case, when she pleaded guilty to felony drug possession.
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.
Harrisonburg City Council members met in person for the first time since 2020 and revisited key issues from that time: the new high school and a housing crunch.
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.