Time to fix the mistakes

We all know the old saying that hindsight is 20/20. Well, that is all great and grand but wouldn’t it be nice if we could have a little foresight for once in Jefferson County. This week two more of the inmates at Mountain View Youth Development Center (or whatever ghillie name it is going by this week) broke out, stole a vehicle and were running amok in our community until finally arrested quite a piece from their “home away from home” but still within our borders. It is bad enough that decades ago the horrible decision was made to allow the “kiddie prison” to locate in Jefferson County. Big promises were made at the time that included jobs with strong salaries and benefits for locals, no adult prisoners, as well as low risk prisoners (no level 3 offenders).

Obviously, those promises were not upheld. Locals have not seen the financial windfall from those great jobs, in fact the employment turnover is high because of the obvious problems at the facility. As for the no level three offenders, that is a joke. These are not kids stealing candy from the local drug store. They are violent criminals from other parts of the state and their disposition did not improve with incarceration ( if you can call it that). They riot with such regularity that the facility has changed hands twice since a committee of Jefferson County officials determined that Jefferson County would not hold the state to their contractual promises regarding Mountain View and allowed them to continue to put our community in jeopardy. Back when Mountain View was negotiated it was new and maybe the powers that were in charge then thought it was worth the risk. But now we know better. A couple of years ago, when the state decided to go to a private contractor for the facility, Jefferson County had the opportunity to hold the state to their contractual obligations but instead we formed a committee and it basically bought the load of bull that the state was selling. And now we find ourselves two contractors in and in as bad a shape as we ever have been, threatened by a bunch of violent offenders that trained guards can’t control, hoping that they don’t find their way to the nursing home next door or the elementary school just up the hill.

It is time that our officials demand some relief for Jefferson County. Our citizen’s rights should be the priority. We are not the offenders and we are not in charge of housing those offenders. But, we are taking the brunt of a situation that should have been over and done with two years ago. Basically, that committee was sold a bill of goods that never materialized and we, as a community, were sold down the river. Somebody needs to step up and fix this situation before it is more tragic than travesty.

So, calling all County Commissioners. We need you to take the reins and do what should have been done two years ago. Be resistant to their bartering and promises and insistent that Mountain View and its residents have stepped over the line too many times. It is time to move out of our community so our people can feel safe in their homes once again. The fence just isn’t high enough and it never will be. We have spent decades risking our community and our first responders. Enough is enough and we are long, long past enough. It is time to fix the mistakes of the past. Actually, it is two years past time.

Source: K. Depew, News Editor