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When I lived in Jerome County, I opposed the commissioner’s jail plans three times with actions and letters to the editor; when they got it right the fourth time, I wholeheartedly supported it the same way I opposed it.

Growth does not always improve quality of life, though certain elements of society claim it reduces the tax burden through the increased sharing of that burden. In reality, growth requires increased government services that are not covered exclusively by the growth and thus adds more burden to those already ensconced in our society.

But here we are. Jerome County has a great new jail and sheriff’s office and in the spring will be adding on to it to house 30 more beds. They are full up as they take on some overflow from Twin Falls. Twin Falls’ growth requires more jail space not only to house those who would rob or assault you, but Commissioner Don Hall said it best in today’s paper: “Ultimately, inmates are people and this bond plan is the best option that will satisfy the needs of the community.”

Gooding County also wants a new jail and sheriff’s offices. Though the county hasn’t experienced the growth that Jerome and Twin Falls have experienced, it was more conservative in dealing with what they had until it became too burdensome and dangerous for all involved which ultimately saved taxpayer’s money.

Now is the time for the citizens of Twin Falls and Gooding to bite the small dollar bullet and understand that these newer facilities will serve their welfare in many ways. It will keep the inmates and the jail staff safer. It will prevent any lawsuits from organizations that claim inhumane treatment of inmates, and even staff, from being brought into court — costing taxpayers money that is best used for the taxpayers rather than on lawyers. It will ensure that those who belong in jail will stay in jail and hopefully be released as good citizens to never be jailed again.

If you have any hesitation about increasing your taxes to participate in your community, I suggest you contact your sheriff to spend a few hours as a sheriff’s deputy or jail staff and be sure to ask how much you’d be paid if you were in their employ along with the risks and dangers you’d face. I would hope you’d recognize the fact that you’d rather pay the few dollars per $100K assessment on your property than to do their jobs. Be glad that they’re doing those jobs so you can rely on them to keep you and your family safe in your home or on the road. The only alternative to not having these facilities is court-ordered early release of possibly violent criminals who will be costing you more than what you would have paid on your property taxes, when they rob your home or assault you.

Vote for a better and safer community in Twin Falls and Gooding because it benefits everyone, including the humans also known as inmates. And who knows, but for the Grace of God, you too could someday be one.

Lee Halper

Hagerman

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Lee Halper is a Hagerman resident.

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