The GOP Ladies Republican Club hosted its October luncheon at Central Bank. Vice Chair Debbie Lambdin introduced guest speakers: Steve Tussey, Jailor and Kirby Easterling, Chair Madison County Republican Party.
Steve Tussey told the group he want to give them a synopsis of what is the future of the Madison County Jail and what it looks like.
"Presently we have 60 people in at/home/incarceration. We have 360 people in the jail that sleeps 180. Most are sleeping on the floor. Quick statistics," he said. "What do you think that the USA is number one in the world? Number of people incarcerated. We seem to like to throw people in prison. We have over two million people in our prisons, over 5,000 jails and 400,000 people working in those jails."
Tussey said he thinks most of the people in our jails need to be there to allow us to live safely and sleep safely and keep us from being harmed, because they are jailed. He added that jail is the answer to our crime problem.
"Number one cause of returning people to the prison system is failure to appear for court dates," he said. "Miscommunication or inability to pay fines, or avoiding incarceration. Our county jails are mainly for short term sentencing. We are unable to create a long-term treatment program because the time served precludes the ability to affect change in the individual."
The question of using the prisoners as a work force is hampered by the necessity of consent to working, he said, before adding most do. However, then the ability to supply enough deputies to watch them as they work becomes a challenge. Home Incarceration is effective for minor offenses.
"I have 520 inmates that I am responsible for. I am viciously looking for opportunities and programs that would increase the number of those on home incarceration and relieve our jail population," he said. "Our recidivism rate right now is 80% of every inmate we release returns. We have a revolving door to our jail. It is a sad statistic."
Presently, Tussey said there is a need for a 1,000-bed facility to serve the prison population needs for now and for the next 20 years. The question was asked if he expected that we would be able to get the facility and he said no.
"Most of the people in our jails need to be there and it doesn't look like we are going to be able to meet the need for our future growth." he said. "Because of the people who were fed a bunch of misinformation, it caused petitions to be circulated throughout the county,that were signed and turned in. The county commissioners as well as myself receive emails, texts and calls threatening us and our families. It's a contentious subject and I wanted to come here and try to explain and clear up some of the misinformation."
Kirby Easterling, new chairperson for the Madison County Republican Party, also spoke. After giving a background on how he came to Madison County and be a professor, he told the group why he got involved.
"While watching the political scene on TV, I was sitting on the sofa watching the news and I became tired of the belly aching and I decided I was going to have to do something to change that, he said. "I attended the meetings of the Republican Party in the county and after three months they asked me to become Chairman of the party six months ago. I want to thank you GOP Ladies Republican Club for all the help this club has provided us in working to get the headquarters up and going at the Glyndon hotel and the great work you are doing to get the vote out."
For more information on the club, contact Nancy Binetsch at 859-200-3273.