Editorial

Scott County opens much-needed new jail

Tuesday, February 4, 2003

Scott County's new $4.8 million jail is impressive. And long overdue.

Sheriff Bill Ferrell has said for years that the 71-year-old, 48-bed jail needed replacing. There weren't enough beds to meet the area's rising number of prisoners. The women's facilities weren't adequate, and the kitchen and laundry rooms were entirely too small.

Three years ago, voters approved a half-cent law enforcement tax to replace Southeast Missouri's oldest jail.

The jail, which was unveiled recently, is a model of high-tech efficiency that Ferrell said will be safer for his deputies and nearly impossible for prisoners to escape from.

The new jail will also house more than twice as many inmates as the old one. That's great news for a county that last year paid $634,000 to house its prisoners in neighboring counties. It will also eliminate other problems caused by the antiquated jails.

It's good news.

With many jails overflowing, the new facility is a real sign of progress for Scott County.

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