The editorial for the Gainesville Sun casually mentioned that the jail takes 20 percent of the budget. Mind you, this is just the jail and does not include the Sheriff’s office. On the surface that may seem like a proper function of Government and it is. However, This is a county that attracts some 80,000 of the best and brightest students in the state to fill the University of Florida and Santa Fe College. It is a county that has only some 250,000 residents. It is a county were the economic engines are education, medicine and government.
It is a county with an incarceration ratio higher that any country in the word to include that of the USA. Compare the county incarceration ratio of 1,000 plus per 100,000 to that of Canada with one of 113 per 100,000. Makes you wonder how Canada can survive as a democracy.
It was not all that long ago that I read a study, I believe it was commissioned by the Minneapolis Federal reserve. The objective of the study was to answer the question: Does community money invested in community (education, infrastructure etc) pay a better return on development than investing money to attract business. As I remember it, the short answer was investing in community paid something like ten times as much as tax credits and etc for attracting business because the types of businesses that thrive on such incentives always move on.
A strong community is it’s own engine of growth and the type of businesses it attracts are stable businesses looking for community.
The editorial on the county jail is at: