Opponents Rally Against New Jail

A local citizens’ group, Stop the Jail,  gathered in front of  the County Building on Fair Street Monday morning, to rally against a new jail in Prescott.  A small crowd of  activists  numbering between 80 and 100,  held signs and conducted an orderly  march in front of the building while the Board of Supervisors met inside to discuss  construction contracts and push forward with plans to break ground on a 144 bed jail  and Judicial Center as  early as next month.



Former County Assessor Pam Pearsall,  one of the organizers of the event, spoke to those assembled,  denouncing the current Board of Supervisors for raising property taxes and forging ahead with the project in the face of a history of voter opposition.  In 2008  and  again in 2014,  county voters rejected a sales tax increase to build a new jail in  Prescott.

Another local  activist and event  organizer,  MaryBeth Hrin-Campbell,  remarked that  opposition to the jail is a bipartisan issue. Former Democrat County Chairman, Toni Denis,  was present along with other jail opponents.  “We have people here this morning from  across the  political spectrum”  Hrin remarked.  “We may  oppose the jail for different reasons.  But  what unites us  is anger at the arrogance of the Board of  Supervisors for not submitting   this matter to the voters.”  To cheers from the assembled she concluded,  “Vote Them  Out!”

Also in attendance were several Board of Supervisor Candidates who have campaigned against the jail.  They included Harry Oberg, running against Sherrie Hanna for an open seat in District 1,  Steve Irwin, who is challenging an appointed supervisor and jail supporter Mary Mallory in District 5,  and Jane Anderson, who is challenging longtime jail advocate Craig Brown in District 4.

County  Attorney  Candidate David Stringer  was also at the rally. He has made opposition to the jail a centerpiece of his  campaign.  Stringer said many people opposed to the jail have asked him if it  can be stopped.  “Of course we can stop it”,  Stringer stated.  “It may be costly to fix  the Board’s mistake.  But not as costly as building and staffing a jail we don’t need.   This is a democracy.  Of course we can stop this jail.”

The Board of Supervisor Candidates and Stringer hand delivered open letters of protest to the Board of Supervisors last week.  They indicated that to date, no response has been received.   None of the Supervisors  appeared to address  the citizens assembled in protest.