Re: “Jail overtime bill skyrockets” (TNT, 8-12).
I am surprised at the Pierce County Council’s shock and dismay over the costs to run the jail 24/7. In the name of public safety, more police were hired; that equals more arrests. Lawmakers’ “tough on crime” stand means more who are arrested stay longer.
Thanks to Maurice Clemmons, there is no bail for felons before arraignment; they stay in jail. Then the state closes a wing of the mental hospital. Many of those folks end up in jail. They are a handful, from a custody point of view; I should know; I work there.
Not once during all the rhetoric about hiring more police did anyone talk about associated costs to house and care for the mentally ill. We are a professional staff, doing a lot with little support; it’s the other side of law enforcement. You can’t have one without the other.
So I ask again, why are county officials surprised?