Prison Panel Sends Suggestions To Mayor

A panel appointed to study prison overcrowding in Jefferson County has developed 35 recommendations to alleviate the problem.

Among them is an increase in the number of prisoners on work release or house arrest. Council Chair Martin Johnstone says those measures would also ease the county’s financial burden.

“Anytime you have people outside of the jail instead of inside, it’s going to save the taxpayers money,” says Johnstone. “It costs approximately $58 a day to keep someone in the county jail so if we can release people who are good best to come back to court it’s not only saving bed space but it’s saving taxpayers the money that it cost to incarcerate people.”

Other recommendations include modifying drug and alcohol punishments and improving communication inside the corrections department.