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Friday, November 24, 2006

Welcome to Portland, here's your cell

Multnomah County's Sheriff Bernie has an idea to raise some money for local jails: lease some of the county's medium-security jail space to a private firm that runs prisons, and let them bring in prisoners from out of state. The county could use the rent money to operate Wapato Jail, its expensive miscreant Marriott that's never opened due to the lack of funding.

No, Paul Allen is not involved in this particular importation of inmates. It's a private jail outfit called Geo Group, whose stock is publicly traded. Already lining up against the plan: a public employees union. They're just looking out for their own, if you AFSCME.

How a hotbed of "progressivism" like Portland could privatize corrections facilities is baffling -- unless, of course, there's something in it for the city's rich and powerful. Sheriff Bernie knows all about them. It will be interesting to see how the new members of the county commission -- Ted Wheeler and Jeff Cogen -- react.

Comments (4)

This concept could affect the design of the Convention Center hotel.

I don't believe a $58 million dollar asset has ever been more underutilized.

They're still spending a couple hundred grand every year just to keep the lights/heat on in the biggest boondoggle...They spent all that money, including $1.2 million on public art: but the jail has never incarcerated anybody.

So Bernie is feeling enough pressure to risk alienating every public employee union in the region. MORE POWER TO YOU, BERNIE. It's better to piss off a few union members than to let all those car thiefs, drug dealers, and residential burglars from continuing to walk the streets.

'bout damn time they filled that place...with something. Like the gold chained, mohawk having commenter about mentioned - they are still paying for heating/electric..etc on the building. Might as well make a little income from it.

Worst comes to worst - they could use a few of the beds for our own societal schmuks. Only one small exception being Bernster cannot get the budget under wraps.

P.S. - Screw the unions. This coming from a union member and leader. They kill good employees spirits by allowing contract stipulation that makes it impossible to fire unproductive people.

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