Being ‘soft’ is seldom a solution

I recently watched a news story on WKYT concerning Madison County Judge-Executive Reagan Taylor supporting charging a daily fee to those incarcerated in the detention center. There is a statute in Kentucky that allows counties to issue such a fee on top of the typical booking fee for inmates.

I have learned we have such a policy here in Clark County. I look forward to doing further research on the matter, but can already affirm that I love this idea.

As Taylor said, “We are not going to be able to survive unless we really get strategic about ways we can generate revenue to give us a little bit of relief.”

If every county is not currently levying such a fee, they certainly should consider it.

The amount of taxpayer dollars funding our detention centers most certainly has to be in the billions in Kentucky.

We need these centers, as we all know, but it is time for people to pay for their crimes in more ways than one.

Currently, Madison County has a policy that allows the county to charge $25 to inmates, but the new proposal would lower it to $10 but with higher intentions of enforcement.

As Taylor mentioned, even if only a percentage was collected, it would still result in a lot of funds that would in turn result in better spending of tax dollars. That is always a winning situation.

As I stated, I look forward to researching how much Clark County charges its inmates and furthermore, how much it actually collects. I would urge our officials to stay on top of it and ensure we are collecting as much as possible.

In the end, $10 is a very small price to pay when one considers how tax dollars are used to offset the daily cost of running our detention centers.

One of the main reasons for overcrowding and higher spending in our correctional facilities is the rampant use of illegal drugs. Recently, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told federal prosecutors to stop seeking leniency for low-level drug offenders and start seeking the toughest penalty possible. I applaud this.

As stated in an article on the NBC news website, the Justice Department under President Barack Obama wanted to “rein” in such toughness stating that it was used disproportionately against minorities and led to the overcrowding of prisons.

I’m sorry folks, but illegal drugs do not know the difference in races, not your skin color, not your gender or sexual orientation or whether you are rich or poor. Only the criminals who distribute these substances do, and trust me, they don’t care.

So, that brings us to another interesting point: I realize people have problems with drug addiction; it is a real issue. But the time is here to combat the issue with every means possible and that certainly means getting tough on the distribution as well as the abuse.

What if we only collected a percentage of daily charges for inmates? But, what if a percentage of this was used to help the problem such as improved drug counseling, better rehab facilities and continued education on making better choices?

When I was in middle school, our local sheriff developed a drug education program that included a drug education bus. He personally drove this bus to all of the schools in the county and talked to each of us in groups on the “drug bus.”

He demonstrated how to recognize drugs, what the affects were, how to avoid them and what to do if we came across them.

I know it was not 100 percent effective, but I do know one young boy who never took drugs because of the sheriff’s effort and hes writing this column now.

I think we can all agree the problem exists but with every problem lies a solution.

It is just a matter of using some ingenuity and common sense to generate ideas.

A lot of my readers dislike my use of the term common sense, but a little of it never hurt anyone.

Another one of my favorite quotes from President Ronald Reagan says, “We must reject the idea that every time a law is broken, society is guilty rather than the law breaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” True and powerful.

Political enthusiast Will Collins is a Kentucky native who has called Winchester home for nearly the past 20 years. He can be reached at wrcollins70@gmail.com