Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

December 31, 2013

Jail two-thirds empty

Editor:

Reading the Dec. 26, 2013, headline story concerning the number of detainees held in the Jefferson County Justice Center for 2013, the average reader may get the idea that the jail was bursting at the seams with inmates. The headline reports that “Justice Center detains 2,003 inmates” for the year.

The number provided by the sheriff is meaningless. Many inmates may have been detained for several days, but many more may have been booked but released the same day.

Buried deep in the article is the real story. On page 3, the sheriff reported that the “accrued average daily population was 81 detainees for the year.” Using average daily population of 81 and comparing it to the 250 bed capacity of the jail, one can readily determine that the facility was only filled to one-third of its capacity (81/250).

Perhaps the headline should have read, “Jail Two Thirds Empty for the Year.”

Jere Shaw

Mt. Vernon

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