Better Governing Now » Commissioners' Decision to Stop Jail Only Temporary


Commissioners' Decision to Stop Jail Only Temporary

News Release:

    On Monday evening, the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners voted to stop all spending and construction planning on the proposed new jail by adopting several measures in a resolution presented to the Board by the Stop the Jail Committee. Citing the State Bureau of Investigation of an apparent suicide in the jail this weekend, certain members of the new Board were reluctant to adopt two measures of the resolution which would have effectively killed the entire project. To put it simply, it is only a temporary stop. The fight is not over.

    Committee Chairman, Harold Smith said "There will be people, including Commissioners, who will try to use the inmate's apparent suicide to justify building a new jail. The Committee fully supports a thorough investigation and an appropriate response after the results of the investigation are known. Regardless of the results, decisions related to the jail should not be based on this incident. In fact, there may be other issues that come up in relation to the jail and these factors too should be addressed. Although this is a tragic event, it does not change the reasons that this project should be completely halted."

    The fact remains that two out of every three voters who voted in the November Commissioner election voted for a candidate who had pledged to stop the jail. The people of Beaufort County have spoken. It is wrong for these commissioners to pursue any course on the project without a referendum.

    Smith went on to say: "We do not need any more knee jerk planning. If a jail is to be built, let's do it right. Any such undertaking should include a needs assessment, clear planning and public approval. So, the battle continues. Our next step is to go to the State Legislature to seek repeal the general statutes that are being misused by local governments to circumvent the Constitution and finance these large projects without a referendum."

       Harold Smith, Stop The Jail Committee

         (252) 945-8719

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