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Factual correction on anti-jail rally report on May 7

May 14, 2019 05:15 am

To the editor:

I read your report regarding the Sunday Rally in Catskill that called for a “Pause and Rethink” on the presently pending county Jail Project. I caught a substantial “fact” error. After a discussion with a friend of mine present when I spoke at the event, it turns out that I mis-spoke and you accurately quoted me in so doing. Both you and your readers should be aware of the accurate data. Here it comes. On the article jump page - page 8 - the error appears as the cost of the Coxsackie site. The cost that I mis-spoke — and you reported — was $850,000. The actual and accurate site cost is $8,500,000 — a figure that makes the Coxsackie location site the most expensive jail site in NY State!

I have attached a copy of the County application for the USDA Loan as the evidence of the accuracy of my corrected figure. I include this as proof of the point, not for printing. The application reflects a site cost of $8.5 million — not the $1 used as the cost by the proponents. Evidently, I voiced a serious cost error and a number well below the actual cost. The application submitted to the USDA in the county loan application of 2017 was the engineering estimate for site preparation before construction. That is the number — $7,650,000 higher than the cost that appears in the article — and should be corrected.

To you and your readers, I apologize for mistakenly stating an extremely low site cost. I ask you to correct the information in your data and, if necessary or possible, add a correction to the report.

Robert Janiszewski


It is also well worth mentioning that with jail populations dwindling throughout our state and nationwide due to improvements in law enforcement alternatives to incarceration and bail reform, we are also seeing a steady decrease in prison populations.

Prisons are not jails. Prisons have the purpose of housing those convicted of a crime, while jails are facilities for those awaiting sentencing, trials, appeals, or held in lieu of bail or as a possible danger if released. However, it would be foolish of New York State to lose and decommission prisons without exploring the conversion of some of these facilities to jails.

It's sad to say, but most of the clamor for jails raising fear of lawlessness stems from the corrections officers unions and politicians who enjoy distributing the local patronage jobs. We're looking at spending $90,000,000 including debt service and support costs for this "downsized" unnecessary jail in Greene county. That's $3,000,000 per/ save guard. Most of these guards are due to retire in the next 7 years. But, a new jail will require us to fund their positions for the next 30 years, because minimum staffing is set by the number of cells, not the number of detainees. For this and a myriad of other reasons, Mr. Janiszewski is correct. we should be saving over $2,000,000 a year in continuing to contract out our detainee population, not wasting $90,000,000 and ruining our finances for generations to come.