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SPEAK UP: Should the Dutchess County Legislature approve the funding for a new jail? YESTERDAY'S: Who will you cheer for in Super Bowl? 93 BRONCOS, 40 PANT

Posted 3 years.

55 Comments

  • John Scileppi. PhD - 3 years ago

    Before spending $200 million taxpayer funds, we need to develop far more cost-effective alternatives to incarceration (ATI). I understand that a current ATI program in the county is already diverting some 90 individuals per year. A much greater diversion program would involve defendants with mental illness or substance abuse issues. Some 80% of those incarcerated in our jail currently have mental illness concerns. While the proposed 23-hour crisis stabilization center at the North Road complex is a step in the correct direction, a more effective approach would be to initiate a mental health court and longer term holding/treatment facility. Our own Dutchess County resident award-winning author, Mary Beth Pfeiffer wrote in her book, Crazy in America, that placing those with mental illness in jails typically results in inhumane isolated solitary confinement, suicide and homicide. In a workshop sponsored by the county government for county legislators during the summer of 2014, the professional consultant advocated for a mental health court and facility as an ATI and cited numerous success stories where such an approach was found to be very effective. Finally the former Republican County Legislator, Michael Kelsey, recognized the need for more psychiatric beds. There are secure buildings on Violet Avenue on the former Hudson River Psychiatric Center campus that could be readily converted to such a facility. As a community psychologist, I have written two books on this and similar solutions. Such an ATI would be a less expensive way to reduce overcrowding, would be more humane, and would reduce recidivism. This needs to be fully explored before the county spends so much taxpayer money!

  • Bobbi - 3 years ago

    REASON 1: A substantial tax increase. A 500 bed jail exceeds the present number of inmates requiring incarceration. Taxes will not only increase with building a new facility, but, with full capacity, taxes will increase due to prisoner care expenses.
    REASON 2: Doesn't address need for prevention. More funds directed toward prevention, particularly substance abuse and violence prevention will help keep fewer people from needing to use this facility and promote them as productive citizens. What about a youth center like YMCA? What about beefing up proposed changes for substance abuse support through DC Dept of Mental Hygiene? Let's get creative to reduce the prison population, not increase it.
    REASON 3: Doesn't address the need to speed up our judicial process which will result in a reduction of the prison population.

  • Dan Peterson - 3 years ago

    Laws regarding drug use and possession are archaic. None violent offenders should not be incarcerated. Let's stop living in the Dark Ages and refuse to build this new jail.

  • Deborah Torres Henning - 3 years ago

    $200,000,000? How about we get rid of victimless crime laws and we won't need as many cells! Or how about one floor in the jail/prison designated for a courtroom and judges station so we don't have to chaperone criminals back and forth to court? We would save tons of money there. What about traveling judges? Arrange their schedules to maximize their visits.

  • Mr.PC - 3 years ago

    The county exec thinks he can make money as if he were running a hotel. The only way it works is if you keep the beds full -- and somebody pays the rent. Spending more and thinking you don't need the revenue is classic Republican voodoo economics. Remember it was Dick Cheney who said "deficits don't matter."... After his party turned a surplus into a deficit with a tax cut, amon other things.

  • Amy Rothstein - 3 years ago

    I strongly believe that we need to invest in our young people in a constructive way (and I don't mean construction as in jail construction). Let's conduct ourselves like we are in the 21st century and spend much-needed money on social programs, treatment programs and other alternatives to incarceration.

  • I SMELL A RAT - 3 years ago

    The vote spike has stopped. Over 100 votes in 15 minutes and now not a single additional vote in the past 20 minutes. I hope this raises red flags at the PoJo, as anyone with even minimal social media knowledge knows this is not probable. Hope you're sleeping well, Marc!

  • I SMELL A RAT - 3 years ago

    Poughkeepsie Journal, you need to check the IP addresses of all votes. The "yes" vote climbed over 100 votes in the past 15 minutes. Hi, Marc.

  • I SMELL A RAT - 3 years ago

    And now 536. This poll is officially invalid. Go to bed, Marc.

  • I SMELL A RAT - 3 years ago

    Already up to 521 since my last comment and it's 11:21 PM on a Friday night, when social media engagement hits an all time low. Get another hobby, Marc.

  • I SMELL A RAT - 3 years ago

    I just watched the "yes" vote spike from 455 to 507 in a matter of minutes after Molinaro commented. Dare I suggest he's deleting the cookies in his browser and voting over and over? So sad. Truly a pity.

  • Deborah - 3 years ago

    It's been my opinion since the beginning to say Absolutely Not ! When you have a county that is more interested in expanding jails than putting money into what ails communities I think we have a bigger problem . The root of what ails most of the middle and low income communities is there are no real opportunities to make money that is is lockstep with rising rent , food and mortgage prices ( mostly upside down) and other socioeconomic ills . I wonder what is the data in relation to inmates who are incarcerated due to drug related crimes ? I like most I'm sure thought hey if you're addicted there's help if you want it ..! What a farce !!! If the tax payers knew what's really going on well let me say .. I watched a family try to get help for their daughter who was addicted to herion , and she was crying for help ! She went to the hospital here in dutchess and they'd took her in for 3 days and after that told her she had to leave and find a program on her own ! What ? Who does that ? A doctor told her she may have to use until a bed can be found for her but she would need to be detoxed !! How the heck was that going to work ? I watched a father cry and beg !!! Beg for help and finally after many calls and who you know his daughter was accepted into treatment after over 3 weeks !
    I say this take some of that money and invest it into programs where people can get their lives back together ! How about job training ? How about helping the near dry food pantries ? Food stamps people say ? Most people Do Not qualify !!
    Talk about the programs that will help at risk children and teens .. There's not many !!!!
    Where is the YMCA ? Where is the YWCA? How many before school and after school programs exists for teens, they are at RISK !
    While its great to hear about some of the existing Youth programs there isn't enough !! What a backwards thought build a huge jail and then fill it !!!! Hmm I wonder how especially when higher crimes go to state prison ! We better start thinking of investing in our children ALL CHILDREN BECAUSE THEY WILL BE WHOSE TAKING CARE OF US !! What you put in to a community is what you get back !!

  • gina - 3 years ago

    Much more analysis of alternative solutions to society management issues must be completed before making this decision. The rush to this expensive construction project appears irresponsible as well as unaffordable at this time. Continue to explore alternatives to incarceration and work to improve the opportunities for Dutchess County residents. A good place to begin would be restoring librarians to Poughkeepsie City schools!

  • Marc Molinaro - 3 years ago

    The Beacon facilty is a prison and is not a jail. The cost to rehab a prison is much mid per square foot than the cost of new. The property is under contract to be sold and would require significant staff to transport inmates from Beacin to our courts daily - adding cost.

    The issue is staff costs. An old facilty including ours is staff intensity. Our facilty staff ratio is 1 CO per 1.2 inmates - a new facilty would achieve 3 to 1 saving millions.

    The facilty now is unsafe and places inmates and our staff at serious risk.

  • Mary S. - 3 years ago

    There's an empty, unused Beacon Correctional Facility on
    over 30 acres, conveniently off of Route 84. A reason for
    not spending less money to improve it & re-use it, hasn't
    been given. Simply saying that "the cost would be prohibitive,"
    without giving the cost, is telling.

  • Tess - 3 years ago

    PLEASE read the details before commenting. There is so much here about prevention, rehabilitation, mental health and drug services.

  • An Ashamed Resident - 3 years ago

    Why on Earth would we mask this issue even further, rather than working to remedy its cause? Absolutely despicable.

  • Patricia - 3 years ago

    The implication of the need for spending an outrageous amount of "tax payers" money, on a jail that is twice the size of our current jail, only proves that we have a serious problem that needs addressing in educating, mentoring and keeping our youth on the right path to a successful future as productive members of society, so they don't end up in jail. So I would love for someone to explain to me, why the county is cutting off the food stamps to the kids in "high risk", low income, single parent households, that are trying to do the right thing and go to college. If they don't work 20 hrs a week, on top of carrying a full time course load of at least 12 credits. It's are actually carrying at least 16 crdits, so they can graduate in two-four years. Let's over burden the kids trying to do the right thing, so they can't do as well as possible in college. But spent all this money on a new jail. Makes absolutely no sense!!!

  • Nada - 3 years ago

    Why do we need another jail? Rather than fund a jail how about bringing in more businesses. Property values are going down and taxes are going up--do we need another drain on our finances? We live in a county that provide zero services for its residents but the same people are continually asked to fund all these ridiculous initiatives.

  • Cathy - 3 years ago

    yes

  • Danielle - 3 years ago

    This proposal serves as a vehicle to drive our area further into the ground. It is not a rational response to use money we don't have to create room for our failed system to prosper. How about we stand together and say enough is enough and create programs that will lift our community out of this rut? If we don't take care of our people, we're going to have to start tearing down homes to create enough room for all the jail cells.

  • Denise Bolds - 3 years ago

    The Kipsey have no youth recreation know why am CA know why WCA there is nothing here for our youth and to strengthen our families housing is dilapidated foreclosed and empty Poughkeepsie Is a for college town and yet it looks dilapidated it is such a hypocrisy to put a new geo jail on top of this mess I've lived here over 20 years and I've seen very little if any improvement

  • Roger - 3 years ago

    The proposal for the new jail puts too much emphasis on bricks and cell bars. What we need is less money spent on buildings and cells, and more money spent on programs to reduce the prison population. If the legislature and county officials truly backed the efforts to reduce the number of prisoners, both short and long term, the results would be substantial. What we are hearing from the majority party concerning prisoner-reduction efforts is lip-service, not commitment. The easy choice is putting big money into massive construction; the smart choice is putting dollars and sincere effort into the ideas to reduce the number of prisoners. Fewer prisoners mean fewer cells and smaller new jails. I want our Dutchess legislators to open their minds and make the wise choice --- our tax dollars are at stake!

  • AJ - 3 years ago

    We need to be shrinking our jail population, not expanding it. There are way too many people serving sentences for petty crimes which costs the tax payers money. How about we take that money and give our prisoners education and job training, fix our public schools (Poughkeepsie) which are among the worst in the state, and maybe with whatever is left give everyone a tax cut? You can't lock up all your "problems" and expect that it won't come back to bite you.

  • Nancy - 3 years ago

    The taxpayers will refer to it as "Marc's Jail." Large tax bills to pay off the debt service on the bond will be Mr. Molinaro's legacy.

  • Beth - 3 years ago

    If we are serious about shrinking the Dutchess County Jail population through alternatives to incarceration, we don't proceed with a 570-bed jail. That is not clear thinking. We first implement the ATIs and then see where we are and what size jail we need. There are ways to do this.

    578 beds is a BIG jail. Dutchess County does not need and cannot afford a $200,000,000 jail.

    And to say that building a much bigger jail than we need will save us money is absurd.

  • Zoe - 3 years ago

    How about we use this money to improve our schools, provide safe recreational activities for our youth, and step up our mental health services? What do we stand to gain from not addressing the issues that lead to jailing?

  • Marc Molinado - 3 years ago

    Jim:

    The cost of rehabbing some other facility are significantly prohibitive. The jail must be within close proximity to the county courts and county seat. This is the most cost effective option if you believe we need capacity.

    I don't think the average resident wants to build jails, although the overwhelm majority would likely oppose services that might put individuals with risk on the street and in communities as well.

    We are elected to weigh all options and consider realities then make a decision. Elections have been centered around this issue for 2 decades. We believe this is the most responsible option and can prove need and financial benefit.

  • Jim Kane - 3 years ago

    I still don't understand why a new building is necessary when there are so many abandoned institutional facilities throughout the county that could be retrofitted. Heck, maybe it could bring a modicum of economic development to Eastern Dutchess. But instead we spend a lot of money to build another facility in crowded Poughkeepsie and potentially endanger the Fallkill watershed.

  • Estrella Laws - 3 years ago

    A referendum may not be required to issue bonds but a
    no binding vote, for taxpayers to express their opinions,
    should be allowed and recorded.

  • TOM - 3 years ago

    I HAVE BEEN READING A LOT'IF OF POST GOOD POINTS - LET START FROM GROUND ZERO IT UP TO A JUDGE IF A PERSON IS SENT TO JAIL OR ROR FROM THE COURT- OR ROAD SIDE PROCESS AND EVEN CHILD SUPPORT THEY COULD SEND U TO JAIL-------ALL THESE SHOULD BE HANDLE WITH OUT TAKEN SOMEBODY TO JAIL- AS FAR A DRUGS-----IF YOUR JACK UP ON DRUGS THE TREATMENT CENTER IS BETTER THEN JAIL TO GET HELP..........

  • Marc Molinaro - 3 years ago

    No one is in the county jail for marijuana possession and all contracts will be awarded based on public bidding in accordance with state and local law.

  • Don from Poughkeepsie - 3 years ago

    Perfect! thank you Marc.

  • Joseph - 3 years ago

    inmate population over 500 at times
    over 2100 people on probation, the original alternative to incarceration
    over 500 on parole = out of prison early instead of incarcerated
    Dutchess County's available space 265...
    BUILD A NEW JAIL!!!!!

  • Marc Molinaro - 3 years ago

    All meetings have been public and all documents available. We've held dozens of forums over the last 4 years and maintain this Facebook Page for dialogue:

    https://www.facebook.com/Dutchess-County-Justice-Transition-Center-1508439256081529/

  • Don from Poughkeepsie - 3 years ago

    The discussion should be public. I agree, this "poll" site is not appropriate to have this debate - but private emails are not, either. Not all of us can get out and sit through a face-to-face county meeting, and frankly that construct is very much "last century". Why not open up a dedicated online forum or heck even use Facebook if you want to -- and have an open discussion about these issues?

  • Marc Molinaro - 3 years ago

    There's so much there to address and I welcome you emailing me at mmolinaro@dutchessny.gov

    Debt load doesn't "go through the roof," we are currently at 4.5% of our possible debt load as a percentage of budget and would likely increase to 5%.

    Old jail designs were inhumane and now require higher staff support. The current jail, due to design required 1 CO for every 1.2 inmates. New dorm like structures enable 1 CO for as many as 4 inmates (we plan for a 1:3 ratio). There are other maintenance and efficiency savings as well but we are extremely conservative in those estimates.

    To the comments regarding alternatives and space for programming - we run dozens of diversion and transition programs for teens, men and women. Restart, Project More for Women and some others are successful and at capacity. The new facility would absolutely create service space, health and mental health facilities and an environment more conducive to providing assistance.

    Lastly, we have run out of time - and can only expand services if we have the space and money. This generates both.

  • DR JOSEPH CALABRO - 3 years ago

    According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Marijuana abuse should be decriminalised and we should treat it as an illness not a crime. Why are we sending Dutchess County residents to jail for marijuana
    use? Many areas have refused to enforce these laws and it has worked well for them. Many residents
    of the jail are in for marijuana use and this should end.
    Another question we should ask is will the contractors who build this new jail be contributors to the political
    campaigns of local politicians?
    Dr Josephc Calabro
    Poughkeepsie Pediatrician

  • Alexandria - 3 years ago

    I think that this is a load of crap! I have been to the meetings where they discuss the same things over and over regarding the expansion and how it will greatly benefit the community. I do not see how it will benefit the community at all. Programs aren't being created with the new space to provide rehabilitation for those housed at the jail. There are empty cells and housing units where the county has already "out sourced" the incarcerated to other jails to show the need by having to pay for their transfer, transportation and room and board else where. The existing programming is a joke and only being offered to some of the incarcerated men. The level of recidivism in Dutchess County is a joke. Officers spend time filling the jails arresting people for AUO's instead of investing money and man power into reducing crime and solving murders. If a larger jail actually meant more jobs for people in the community, more space for educational and rehabilitating programs for the incarcerated, and more and/or actual mental health care for the currently and soon to be incarcerated; I would be all for it. This is not the case. I VOTE AGAINST THE JAIL EXPANSION.

  • Don from Poughkeepsie - 3 years ago

    The presentation shows a much larger facility with more inmates yet relies on dollar savings through less staffing, flat administration and flat "other expense". How exactly does that work? Where are all the details behind these numbers - where are the line-item costs and all the assumptions documented?

    Debt load goes through the roof, and that's before any highly likely cost over-runs.

    This is not a slam dunk. There is a significant amount of risk in this plan, which is undocumented (at least, in the public disclosures).

    Again, not arguing against the need. Just disappointed with the way this is being presented: "new jail and will save the taxpayers millions!" -- completely disagree with that theory.

  • Marc Molinaro - 3 years ago

    Visit dutchessny.gov and the entire financial and program analysis is online along with bond information and video presentation. We are trying to undue a problem that has been left unaddressed and build the right facility for us to reduce numbers. In fact we incorporate the ability to reduce the size by 170 beds. The full financial comparison is online.

  • Don from Poughkeepsie - 3 years ago

    Maybe because we don't automatically trust politicians or huge budget capital projects, no matter how much you want to lean on the "it's for rehabilitation" byline. It's a giant building with jail cells in it, let's not kid anyone please. The money is being spent primarily on infrastructure.

    Nothing in the plan shows the math on debt-load savings to the taxpayers over the next several years. Just a bunch of hand-waving. The plan should show the nominal financials and the potential scenario with the usual 20% to 100% cost over-run we see in public capex projects like this.

    Here's a real clue folks: the plan assumes an increase of 15% of incarcerated people of the next 30 years. Dutchess county has been on a NEGATIVE population slope, and due to the economic conditions in NYS, will likely continue to decline. So all that rehab is doing what? Increasing the expected rate of incarceration?

    I actually agree we need a new jail but it's for all the wrong reasons, unfortunately. It's because we let this problem get away from us and now it's too late. It's a pretty sad day when a plan is declared wonderful because we stop leaking money out of the county for housing inmates, and instead we create this Death Star project to house them ourselves.

    We need a reform of the penal code and a real plan for dealing with drug addiction - which starts way before the first drug offense. Other states have done this and had success but we refuse to learn from what they have implemented. We just keep putting band-aids on the problem, on the backs of the taxpayers.

  • Marc Molinaro - 3 years ago

    Bond authority is not subject to referendum - this county's incarceration rate is much lower than the national & state average. We have until April 1 to move forward or we must return to housing out. Our plan saves $5.3 million.

    Housing out will increase inmate numbers and cost $10 million/ year. Construction will reduce inmate numbers and cost $9 million/ year.

    Staff and operational savings will save another $4 million/ year

    Saving $5 million/ year

  • Pete - 3 years ago

    You just heard the County Executive himself explain the plan, the Poughkeepsie Journal as well! Why are you people still against this. I just don't get it.

  • Tylinsky - 3 years ago

    Put this to a referendum! Let the residents decide...

  • James - 3 years ago

    This proposal should be put to a referendum.

  • Marc Molinaro - 3 years ago

    Our plan invests in prevention, reshapes mental health & addiction services, improves public safety and saves $5.3 million a year.

    With 420 inmates and room for only 257, since 2005 we have been under State order to build adequate space and our current facility is unsafe, inefficient and wastes tax dollars.

    We can be a model for America with a new comprehensive system of justice. We've debated & analyzed this for 25 years - the time has come to solve this problem.

  • Joseph Coratti - 3 years ago

    it will pay for itself over the long run. More importantly, it will save lives and give addicts a chance at recovery.
    There will be savings of the daily cost per inmate and savings from social assistance programs which will offset the costs of new jail.
    Showing addicts that someone cares about their recovery, instead of penalizing them for it, may be enough to help in their recovery. Thus making them contributing members of society.
    The majority of addicts are not criminals. They suffer from the disease of drug addiction. They are fed by the capitalistic drug dealers, whose only purpose is to make money off of the sale of illegal drugs. They create addicts to fulfill their own needs. They are the ones who need incarceration, not the addict.
    Basic economics says that by eliminating the demand for a product you minimize the necessity of supply. Rehabilitate the addicts and the dealers will move on.
    Sounds simple, it's not. But you need to start somewhere. You never know!

  • walter - 3 years ago

    Experience tells me that by the time this project ends the new addition will not be enough. We will still be housing inmates out. Count on it.

  • Sue Andener - 3 years ago

    This would help end the war on drugs! Does anyone not read the proposal before they vote??

  • anon - 3 years ago

    if we end the war on drugs we wont need a new jail. we need prevention not detention.

  • Victor Chanre - 3 years ago

    Why are people voting against this???

  • Frank - 3 years ago

    This is going to include a drug rehabilitation center if you read the plan! This is going to help people more than anything! Plus taxes can't go up to much because of the Tax Cap set by New York State. I think Marc is doing a great job and this plan is well put together and needed

  • Don from Poughkeepsie - 3 years ago

    Make a graph of the incidence of heroin usage over the next 10 years. Next make a related graph of the number of jail cells we will need for the direct drug crimes and indirectly related crimes.

    Now, if you are a taxpayer, get ready to have your bank account emptied.

  • Charles - 3 years ago

    Absolutely! I agree with County Executive Marc Molinaro's plans for the jail!

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