When the I.W. Davis Probation Detention Center opened in Jackson County, it was considered a tremendous asset. The facility provided jobs in an industry not affected by recession and offered a low-cost labor force for local governments.
Now, the facility is scheduled for closure, the jobs and detainee labor are gone and local governments that utilized the detainee labor must replace it with paid workers. It turns out the prison industry can be affected by the economy.
Of the cost-cutting measures announced so far by the state — mostly by Gov. Sonny Perdue — this is one of the most reasonable. If Georgia can house the detainees elsewhere and produce a savings, more power to it. But like other cost-cutting measures, such as repeal of the $428 million Homeowners Tax Relief Grant and slashes in state money for schools, this one has an economic impact on local government.
It’s another reminder that when the state moves to balance its budget, there is an inevitable and often corresponding hit at the local level. The effect of closing the I.W. Davis Probation Detention Center will be minimal in the scheme of things, but both the elimination of local jobs and the loss of inexpensive maintenance labor in local governments will be felt.
For all of the editorials and opinion columns, see the Aug. 27 issue of The Commerce News.
I have family that work there and I believe if Governor Perdue would take a 5% pay cut and do the same for all employees making over $75,000 a year it would help the budget more than closing down this facility. The rate of pay averages around $24,000 a year for the employees there and saves the local giovernment alot on detainnhee labor!!