Center will improve safety, security

[Source: “Center will improve safety, security,” Press Citizen, 26 April 2013]

I’m directing this letter to University of Iowa students; before you cast your vote regarding the justice center, make sure you are basing your decision off of facts and not speculation or hearsay.

Despite what you may have heard, the current jail is not full of drunken students and people charged with simple marijuana possession. It’s not unusual on any given day for there to be zero inmates that fit this description. But please, don’t take my word for it. Johnson County provides an online jail roster that is available to the public at (Jail Inmate Roster). See for yourself.

The proposed justice center also would correct major safety, security and space deficiencies at our historic Johnson County Courthouse that endanger both students and the public.

Some of the most striking deficiencies include:

  • Entrances lacking even basic security checkpoints.
  • No separate and secure entrance for deputies escorting criminal suspects.
  • No way to separate inmates from students, general public, jurors, employees and judges.
  • Hallways and back stairs so narrow they pose a serious threat in case of emergency.
  • No automated sprinkler system.
  • And entrances not accessible for disabled persons.

The proposed justice center addresses all of these issues. As a UI student, I feel that fellow students utilizing the courthouse — whether for such things as university classes, traffic violations, voting, jury duty or appealing fines — need to be able to do so in a secure and safe environment.

Please vote yes on May 7 to support the Johnson County justice center.

Drew Lakin

Iowa City

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Categories: Commentary, Endorsement


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