Sebrell resident offers moneysaving idea for fellow taxpayers

Published 9:50 am Friday, September 13, 2013

To the Editor:

I believe a rare opportunity has come up for the Southampton County Board of Supervisors to save the county (i.e. taxpayers) money.

As per article in The Tidewater News, the Western Tidewater Regional Jail will lose up to 115 federal prisoners that are housed for the U.S. Marshals Office.

The City of Franklin and Isle of Wight County will be hard pressed to replace the lost revenue from the loss of these prisoners.

Why does this present an opportunity for Southampton County?

Southampton County would have a strong negotiating position for terms to move Southampton County jail inmates, currently housed at the jail farm, to the Western Tidewater Regional Jail.

Why move the Southampton County Jail inmates?

1. Southampton County can get out of the prison business; it is very expensive. As per 2013-2014 Southampton County Budget Page 12, Code 33100, for Detention: $2,842,657. For fewer than 100 inmates, that is more than $28,000 per inmate. There are 46 employees listed in the Sheriff’s Department under Detention/Corrections. That is about one employee per two inmates.

2. Southampton County can close the jail farm. The jail farm is a dilapidated facility in need of major repairs. Money for repairs was requested, but not funded in the 2013-2014 Southampton County Budget.

3. The Southampton County Jail in Courtland would be available to house short-term prisoner needs. I frequently attend the Southampton County Board of Supervisors monthly meetings and I know that most ideas from constituents are met with skepticism or we can’t do that.

The Southampton County Board of Supervisors has made strides to save money through shared services.

Now I challenge the Southampton County Board of Supervisors to explore this proposal in the same spirit to save the county taxpayers’ money.

John Burchett