Letter: Facility needed to teach addicted offenders

To the editor:

In response to the ”Facility location prompts concern” article on Jan. 18, I am very much in favor of a facility which will offer a work release program, rehabilitation classes and programs for minor offenders. The corner of Drake and Hospital roads in the area of residences and schools may not be the best choice.

Addiction is at epidemic proportions in our culture and is growing in our community. The police reports of accidents, arrests, or break-ins speak loudly of minor criminal activity on the rise in Johnson County. In looking to the future of Johnson County, I feel it is essential to consider the overcrowded conditions in the Johnson County jail as well as the needs for a community corrections facility that truly serves the needs.

Johnson County corrections department currently offer work release programs as well as classes for drug/alcohol addiction and anger management in a facility near the jail. This facility was remodeled over 10 years ago for community corrections programs yet it has now outgrown its capacity to meet the needs of our state institutional guidelines.

A community corrections facility near Johnson County jail would offer minimal offenders an environment away from hard-core criminal offenders now residing in our small, overcrowded Johnson County jail.

The state guidelines for housing major criminals has changed over a couple of years, which means integrating a person with a minor offense in a close environment with hardened criminals. A new facility for community corrections would offer a space specifically designed to house minor offenders, offer rehab classes to help redirect energy toward responsible adult living.

Our culture promotes substance abuse of all kinds through TV programs and commercials, our youth live with more stress than any prior generation with fewer outlets to deal with emotional issues, youth, young adults and older adults turn to drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms. Drug/alcohol abuse can lead to minor offense against the laws designed to keep order and safety in our communities.

Responsible citizens can do something. Instead of living in denial, the Johnson County community could be a model community leading the way toward the future by seeking Johnson County jail expansion and a new building to help those who want assistance.

Please join me in my request to the Johnson CountyCommissioners for a new Johnson County Community Corrections facility on county property, not necessarily in the residential area of the property donated to the county by Johnson Memorial Hospital.

Eileen Paige