Johnson County Justice Center

Justice center is not just a ‘jail’ issue

[Source: “Justice center is not just a ‘jail’ issue,” Press Citizen, 30 April 2013, by Leroy Nida]

I want talk about some of the issues I hear associated with a new justice center. First, I want to point out this is not just a “jail” issue; it is also a courthouse issue.

Johnson County would qualify for more judges to handle the ever increasing caseloads of the court system, but there is nowhere to put them. If the county were to be able to house more judges, then cases would get processed quicker.

And what about security? On any given day, there are scores of cases processed at the courthouse. Parties to those cases may or may not like the outcome of their case. Usually, one party is happier than the other, but most time no one gets 100 percent of what they want.

And right now, victims and perpetrators are almost always in the same hallway — sometimes sitting right across from each other. That is something that will be dealt with in a better way in a new facility.

There are only two deputies assigned to work at the courthouse. They do a very good job, but they can’t be everywhere at once. There is no metal detector at the courthouse, and there is no practical way to install one.

I can tell you all this because for the last 18 years I have worked at the courthouse. I am a member of AFSCME Local 3012, and for better working conditions and a safer working environment, I ask all of my brothers and sisters to vote “yes” for the justice center.

Leroy Nida


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