Dutchess County plans to build a new jail and Sheriff’s office and has approved nearly $200 million in bond issues to build them. I am not opposed to this but I believe the size of the jail can be minimized to save us tens of millions of dollars. There are alternatives to incarceration. For example, addiction treatment and mental health services have been proven to be effective in reducing jail populations and achieving better outcomes for all involved. Our county should plan to invest more in these alternatives. Also, bail reform, allowing poor non-violent suspects to avoid sitting in a cell simply because they cannot make bail, is a safe and effective way to reduce the need for cells. I feel a new jail could and should provide a better environment in which to help incarcerated people become law abiding and productive citizens upon their release. I also think a new Sheriff’s Office will provide better working conditions for our county law enforcement workers who have one of the hardest jobs in our community.