More Jails, Please

Eugene needs to build a municipal jail soon. Renting 20 beds from the sheriff and a few from Springfield is not working. Eugene’s Municipal Court judges often have no jail option for repeat offenders. My burglar has 63 municipal court files and has done little jail time. Having repeat offenders on the streets is a major contributing factor to the decline in quality of life here.

Springfield’s municipal jail can hold 100 prisoners and that city is half the size of Eugene. Given the respective populations we probably need capacity for at least 250 prisoners in Eugene. Wouldn’t most of us feel safer in a city with a jail for misdemeanor offenders?

My opinion is that restoring a sense of safety is worth whatever the jail costs. Do you and your neighbors perceive that Eugene is becoming less safe?

Mayor Lucy Vinis and the city council should make preservation of order and public safety the number one priority of government. Public funding for law enforcement must include money for the construction and operation of a municipal jail. The need will increase as our population grows from 170,000 people to a greater size.

There are lots of criminals free in Eugene today because the city has no place to lock them up. Failing to act is neglect and reckless. A municipal jail will help maintain Eugene as a desirable place to live and work. I think that’s a goal we can all support.

James K. Walsh