Aug. 8, 2012 — The publisher of the Journal-Times has asked Carter Judge-Executive Charles Wallace and the three magistrates supporting the regional jail concept to prepare a written statement explaining why they want to make this major change.
We made that unusual request because our coverage of this matter has been significantly one-sided and that is unfair to our readers and to the other good citizens of Carter County.
Granted, most of the problem has been the refusal or reluctance of the judge-executive and his allies to tell their side of the story.
If and when they respond with a written statement, it is our intention to print that information on the front page of our newspapers.
Our objective is to give Carter County citizens an opportunity to learn both sides of what has become a very divisive issue.
Be aware that we at the newspaper don’t care if a regional jail authority is formed or not. That is not our responsibility.
Carter County has a judge-executive, five magistrates and a jailer who were elected by the people to determine how best to operate a corrections facility that will protect the public while detaining inmates in a humane fashion.
How and where that is done is up to those elected officials who have the legal responsibility and authority to make such decisions.
We had hoped that a free exchange of ideas could occur in a public forum so that officials and citizens could make up their own minds and do what makes sense and what the county can afford.
The “afford” part is even more important during these difficult economic times as the Kentucky Department of Corrections steadily decreases the number of its inmates in state prisons and in county jails.
A public discussion of regional jail issues at a Fiscal Court meeting would be desirable and appropriate but intense feelings on both sides of the question would seem to make that unlikely.
It is more than obvious that citizens and the news media have many more questions than answers about this proposal.
Lack of information from elected leaders breeds suspicion and distrust and there’s plenty of that to go around.
A great American newspaperman once said that the free press works like a lighthouse. It should give light so that the people can find their own way.
At this point, we’re waiting on four members of Fiscal Court to help us turn on that light.