You can read the full editorial here .
Winona Post, Dec 29, 2020
I am County Commissioner Chris Meyer, representing District 1 of Winona County on the Winona County Board. The following statement is mine alone.
Many people have reached out to me with concerns about the Winona County jail replacement project, and I wanted to share some of the main reasons I believe we must move forward. I don’t want to overbuild the jail. I definitely want the county to provide mental health services and social supports to help people stay out of jail. I recognize the injustice and racism that exists in the criminal justice system. It angers me, as I think it does many of the people who are coming forward. Having said that, there are compelling reasons for the jail to be built. I hope to separate the social justice and the criminal justice issues that citizens have expressed surrounding the jail project so we make progress on both.
A Jail Design and Construction Committee has been meeting for a year and provided us four options at the board meeting of December 22. The committee’s recommendation, which is contained in the board agenda packet available now online, is that the board adopt a “jail only” option. It will be the bare minimum with 53 cells (80 bed total with double bunking cells) and space for programming. It proposes subsequent phases to allow discussion about juvenile beds, updates to our dispatch center, space considerations for the Winona Police Department, and health and safety issues with the existing Law Enforcement Center. The cost of the “jail only” option will be between $18-20 million.