I think $46.8 million is a lowball figure for Johnson County’s proposed new jail/justice center and the total cost will climb as construction progresses, making the bond issue insufficient.
The county already has done two projects that have proved to be much more costly than we were told to expect: the Joint Communications Center and the new Health and Human Services Building. Additionally, the TIFs in this county have resulted in small businesses, rural property owners and Iowa City residents having to pay a disproportionately large amount of the local property taxes.
Furthermore, it’s repugnant for me that the Johnson County Democratic Central Committee has endorsed the jail. When did supporting more jails become a Democratic issue? Democrats are supposed to be helping the poor and the minorities who make up the majority, by far, of jailed people, many of them victims of the draconian sentencing of the failed “war on marijuana” and other victimless crimes.
A new jail is not so much a project issue as a policy one: our policing, sentencing and justice arrangements need serious revision before we build more and bigger jails.
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