Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Orange County Jail made their budget presentation yesterday to the Board of County Commissioners for a proposed budget of $146 million!

Kudos to Orange County Commissioner Mildred Fernandez who took a leadership position and asked tough questions about the Jail's Pretrial Release program, which is funded at over $2 million alone! The jail population is currently at 3,800 inmates and continues to remain at a 90 percent occupancy rate. The Jail Chief, Michael Tidwell, said the Jail is "enjoying the lower population and anticipates that it will remain low for some time." So why are over $2 million in tax dollars being spent to continue to release and supervise defendants that are able to post a bail bond and that never even see a Judge for such release?

Mayor Crotty said that the County is in a "belt tightening" mode yet still providing "superior government services to the citizens." I don't see anything superior about spending millions of tax dollars in these difficult economic times to release defendants from the Jail free of charge when the private bail industry is willing and able to do so at no cost to the taxpayers!

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