Change jail plan now for success in Delaware County

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Delaware County Commissioners and Council members,

We, the voters of Delaware County, do not support the build-out of the former Wilson Middle School as a jail for our county.

It is unconscionable, in our community’s long-term planning, that our budget priorities should simultaneously reflect shrinking schools and doubling or tripling the jail population. Given that the greatest percentage of our county’s inmates are incarcerated on drug-related charges, we want county systems such as a large-scale drug treatment facility that proactively reduce our jail population by preventing incarceration rather than financially betting on it. We should not plan a warehouse for incarcerated persons outside town, moving our center for justice to the outskirts, visible only to those living in the suburbs. Indeed, the manner in which this deal has been made – with only one bid from an LLC that popped into existence for the sole purpose of this project – seems to depend on keeping the entire endeavor out of the public view.

We do not believe the narrative that our county has come to the hopeless place of needing to turn our school into a grand jail, nor that we should plan for an increasing percentage of our shrinking population to be housed as criminals. We will dream, vote, and build a better story for our community and we ask you to do the same.

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