Monroe County government is undertaking a comprehensive review of our local criminal justice system, including the jail, courts, community corrections, probation department, law enforcement agencies, the prosecuting attorney's office and public defenders.
The county Board of Commissioners has hired consultants to lead the project: Kenneth Ray of Restorative Justice Services; criminal justice consultant Allen Beck; and former Dept. of Justice attorneys Eve Hill and Regina Kline of Inclusivity Strategic Consulting, which focuses on civil rights and inclusion for persons with disabilities. The contracts total $212,000 for this phase.
Upcoming public forums are being held to get input from the community, facilitated by the Monroe County Human Rights Commission and the Community Justice and Mediation Center:
The county recently issued a press release to describe this effort. Here's an excerpt:
The Correctional Center is an aging facility (built in the 1980s). It was originally built to house 128 people. Renovations have increased the maximum capacity, so that there are now 284 permanent beds. The population, or number of people in the Center, often exceeds the number of permanent beds.
No Monroe County leader wants to spend taxpayer dollars to, simply, build a bigger jail with more cell space to house more people.
Monroe County leaders DO want to give meaning to and emphasize the word CORRECTION in the name CORRECTIONAL Center, because human lives are at stake. Those lives include not only the people in the Correctional Center, but also their families, friends, co-workers and neighbors.
The criminal justice system affects not just the lives mentioned above, but affects anyone who lives, works or visits Monroe County. The criminal justice system, truly, affects the quality of life in Monroe County, and how well it works really matters.
With that in mind, Monroe County leaders intend to look at everything we do related to criminal justice, to identify strengths and gaps in our services. Essentially, Monroe County is going to take a good, long look at our criminal justice system to identify what we are doing well and on what we can improve.
Read the county's full press release here.