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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines


I am merely a curious spectator in the realm of problematic public issues. Still, it is interesting to study - and discuss - the topics of considerable concern. During the past several months I’ve heard many fellow citizens supporting and discouraging the building of a new county jail. “We have no choice,” some opined. “Our current facility is out-of-date and inefficient.” That is a difficult statement to dispute. However, so is this one: “We can’t afford to build a new one,” others argued. “It is obviously too expensive.“ My opinion of the community correction system has not changed. I’m hardly an expert, but I’m acutely aware of how how this hot-button issue intimately impacts so many individuals. How do I approach this daunting dilemma?First, don’t consider myself horrible or heartless. I do not wish cruel and unusual punishment on anyone. However, I am not the proverbial bleeding heart. This issue merits critical thinking, objective analysis. I offer one absolute: violent criminals should be dispatched to state prison. That behavior merits no acceptance in this community. Most agree our conundrum in Lawrence County revolves around the abuse of alcohol and drugs. I definitely do not believe in unlimited mulligans for addicts. Enough is enough. Again, it has nothing to do with meanness. I just don’t perceive it as a reasonable or viable solution. I certainly can condone one rigorous stab at rehabilitation. If that fails, it’s time for an Involuntary change of scenery. Why? I am convinced laws must be enforced. If not, they are meaningless. Too hard on an offender’s family? No. Many of these perpetual lawbreakers need to foster new relationships in an atmosphere more conducive to generating a positive outcome. Let me be clear: I perceive this as an opportunity, not a punishment. The naysayers will shake their heads and deem my suggestion illegal, impossible. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I am not trying to identify good guys and bad guys. I moved here more than 40 years ago and I’d like to believe most of the decent residents of this community would prefer an environment less tainted by the use and sale of illegal substances. I can think of many alternate habitats for addicts to exist unencumbered, in communities more interested in defunding police movements than cleansing streets and neighborhoods of the filth associated with this horrible habit. Again, I don’t pretend to be a prophet. However, if individuals cannot say no to drugs, I think it’s fair to sternly suggest they reside elsewhere. I am definitely open to other ideas and potential solutions. Bob Bridge welcomes comments at 812-276-9646 or

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