Montgomery County broke ground Thursday afternoon for a new minimum-security building on the grounds of the county prison in Eagleville. Warden Julio Algarin addressed the crowd gathered for the ceremony, saying the story about prison population growth over the last 25 or 30 year is well-known, but at the same time another population was growing rapidly.
“The Number of people on probation or parole has skyrocketed to more than 5 million, up from 1.6 million just 25 years ago. This means that one in 45 adults in the United States is under criminal justice supervision in the community, and when that’s combined with those in prison and jails a stunning one in every 31 adults, or 3.2 percent, is under some form of correctional control.”
President Judge Richard Hodgson also spoke, saying the county started a number of programs in recent years to address those problems.
“The earned early release program and the task force project are two that I mention specifically which have helped ease overcrowding, and the good news in that respect is that these, and other programs, will continue after the construction has been completed.”
Judge Hodgson said the programs emerged out of delays in getting construction started, and they have proven their value. The new building should open in about a year, at a cost of about $24 million, and increased work-release fees the inmates pay to the county will help defray the cost.