Joe Gray

Grove Sun Editor

Every county I’ve ever worked in has a jail problem.

It didn’t take long to find out that Delaware County is no different.

I’ve heard the stories about the failed sales tax initiatives, and all of the various things the Sheriff’s department and District Attorney’s office have tried to alleviate the overcrowding problem. I haven’t been here long enough to form any opinion about what’s been done right or wrong over the years, but I do know one thing, the problem’s not going away, and will have to be addressed, somehow, someway.

Votes for jail taxes are always difficult to get passed, for a multitude of reasons. No one wants more taxes, and they certainly don’t want to pay them for something they view as making inmates more comfortable. So when voters see jail plans that contain buildings with exercise areas, medical care, dining facilities, etc., they typically get up in arms about the “country club” jail the county is trying to get them to pay for.

Of course, none of those amenities are ever the county’s idea. All of those rules are dictated by the State Department of Health, which continually raises the requirements that counties have to adhere to, while the State government gives those counties absolutely no help to pay for those facilities. Do it, and figure out how to pay for it yourself, or we’ll sue you, and you’ll rack up big fines in the process. That’s what every county in Oklahoma has had to deal with.

And you’re going to have to deal with it too, one way or another.

Joe Gray

Grove Sun Editor