View Full Version : Lawton/Comanche Co. Jail

02-16-2007, 10:00 AM
Does Lawton/Comanche need an expansion or simply a new jail? I hate to think people who ought to be in jail are walking the streets down there??

Lawton Officials Considering Merging Jail Operations
Lawton (AP) - City officials in Lawton will meet with Comanche County commissioners to discuss merging their two jails.

Lawton City Manager Larry Mitchell says both the 50-bed city jail and the 283-bed county jail are overcrowded and some criminals are becoming wise to the situation. He says they refuse to pay a fine and take jail time - but are often released after less than two days because of the overcrowded jail.

County Commission Chairman Gail Turner says all options are being considered - including the possibility of renovating the old county jail which is now empty.

Bobby H
02-16-2007, 10:33 AM
The Comanche County Jail downtown is new. It just wasn't built with prison population trends in mind.

In truth, every prison in the United States is bulging beyond capacity. The GEO (formerly Wackenhut) prison complex south of Lawton has done two expansions since it opened just a few years ago. It's out of prison space. Our stupidly wide open borders are making matters worse in that many southern states now have rapidly growing populations of illegal immigrants in the nation's prisons as well. California estimates at least 20% to 30% of the prison population in its state consists of illegal immigrants.

All of that adds up to a lot of cost that must be carried by the taxpayers. DOC costs are eating into budgets for education, roads and other areas where we would prefer to spend our tax dollars. That cost is escalating. Prisons have to provide health care to prisoners and lots of other services. A great deal of mentally disabled people are winding up in prisons since the government cut a great deal of funding from mental institutions. Mental health drugs cost even more than most physical health drugs. And those prices are rising well out of control.

The old, lazy method of just locking up people is not working. Issues of crime will need to be handled in smarter ways. Unfortunately, some of those ways are seen as being too "liberal" for many politicians. So I guess we'll just keep building even more prisons and paying an even greater share of our tax dollars to warehousing prisoners.

02-16-2007, 02:16 PM
If the population is that bad maybe a minimum security setting would be better for non violent offenders. Maybe even some considerable community service time would be good too rather than time in jail. Reserve the jail for serious offenders. What other "liberal"methods are you talking about?? Just curious?

Bobby H
02-17-2007, 06:00 PM
Some of the "liberal" solutions:

We need a much greater amount of drug treatment programs. There's not nearly enough available. Treatment programs pay for themselves. They cost a lot less than jailing a person at an average of $60,000 per year -billed to the taxpayers.

More has to be done in finding different options to punish non-violent offenders other than just locking them away in jail. It's going to take some creative, innovative kinds of thinking to come up with something good.

Head Start and other pre-school and day care programs need to be fully funded, improved and expanded. There's a large population of kids in Lawton alone who don't have good parents, if there are any real parents around at all. A shocking number of kids are being raised by their grand parents since their own birth parents would just prefer to party all the time rather than live up to their responsibility. Many children are growing up without proper role models or even good knowledge between right and wrong. Many grow up hungry and terribly poor. Much more has to be done to make up for the failings of parents and keep children on the right track before they grow up to be criminals.

The sport of judgment is a weakness in American culture. We seem to get off on just throwing people in jail. Those same Americans don't realize the huge cost they are paying in doing that. They also don't realize the vast majority of those jailed criminals will be released (often a lot sooner than one thinks). When they get out, their job options are severely limited -which often drives them right back to crime.

We need a lot of prison space, but we need to be using it to house the real bad criminals. Y'know, murderers, rapists, armed robbers nad even white collar criminals who have ripped people off for many thousands or millions of dollars. We don't need to be using up much of the prison space to house people who got busted for drug possession or DUI.

05-02-2007, 12:36 AM
I can honestly attest to the fact that our system is just plain SCREWED UP. I have arrested people for child molestation with a full confession and the suspect (arrestee) got 3 yrs all but 6 months suspended. That means that he had to do 6 months in the county jail and was out. I have also arrested someone for writing a hot check to the tune of $1900 and guess what he received 5 yrs and was sent to prison. Granted the hot check writer had a prior for the same thing but.......the child molester did to. Tell me that is not a system that has things ass backwards.

Bobby H
05-02-2007, 07:26 AM
I agree child molesters are among the real monsters who need to be locked up in prisons or locked in psychiatric wards. They don't need to be mingling with the general public.

However, mental health funding is another area that has been greatly hacked to pieces. There's a growing number of mentally ill people who have done nothing violent but are having to be warehoused in prisons because they're not functional enough to live on their own and there's no space in the limited number of psychiatric hospitals in the country. To worsen the problem, mental health care costs have also skyrocketed out of control just like the immoral price spikes we've been seeing in physical health care for the past decade.

Being "tough on crime" is not nearly as good (or cost effective) as being "smart on crime."

05-26-2007, 08:04 PM
Does Lawton/Comanche need an expansion or simply a new jail? I hate to think people who ought to be in jail are walking the streets down there??

Lawton is indeed full of people who need to be in jail.