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Dissenting views on new jail project emerge

Jan 11, 2017 7:00 am

Daniel Zuckerman is reporting in The Daily Mail the plan to construct a new jail in Greene County has encountered some resistance. The resolution to authorize the issuance of $52 million in serial bonds to finance the project was ultimately approved by the Greene County Legislature Public Safety Committee this week, but not without debate. County Administrator Shaun Groden said there was no dissent before, but "I come here tonight and now I’m not sure the project is a go." The legislators were more concerned about the size of the jail, rather than the cost of the bond, Groden said. Lori Torgersen, the Democrat who represents Windham, said that although important and thoughtful work has been done on the project, a large jail is not needed because of a low rate of violent crime. She said other legislators who are on the committee had concerns about the size of the jail, as well. Torgersen, who holds a doctorate in criminology, is concerned about over-incarceration. She also noted treatment and jail diversion programs are needed for substance abusers. Republican William Lawrence, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, opposes reducing the size of the jail from 130 beds because he fears running out of space. Jail officials said a 100-bed facility is too small, Lawrence told the committee. "Even though they have objections to the size, it shouldn’t affect the bondings," Lawrence said. Groden concurred. "At the end of the day this does not affect the bonding procedure or the bonding dollar amount," he said. Read the full story in The Daily Mail.

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