People howled when the local government wanted to build a $350 million courthouse to replace one that was 50 years old.

Now, the Curry administration is talking about spending $400 million to build a jail to replace one that is not even 40 years old.

I can remember when the new one was built, next to the police headquarters. The chief of the jail invited me to come over and take a tour. It was pretty impressive.

It is difficult to believe that it is outdated and worn out already. Or that it would take $400 million to replace.

The current jail is a block from the old courthouse and just a few blocks from the new courthouse.

One location being suggested for a new jail is far out in North Jacksonville near the airport – 20 miles from the courthouse. That means every day prisoners would have to be hauled 40 miles to make court appearances, increasing costs and security risks.

Mayor Lenny Curry has not explained how the project would be financed.

The proposal comes out of the blue. To my knowledge no one had identified the current jail as a problem that needed to be addressed. Is it falling apart? Overcrowded?

It would behoove the mayor to tell taxpayers what the problem is, and where he plans to get the money to fix the alleged problem.

 

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Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.

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