Once it became clear last Thursday night that Commissioner Valentino and Interim George Touart were taking over the Escambia County Jail, Touart and his staff showed that they have no idea how much it will cost.
Though he didn’t know the actual cost, Touart promised no tax increase-which is all what four of the commissioners wanted to hear. The DOJ findings and the possible return to horrible conditions that launched the investigation weren’t their concern. After all, most of the inmates are poor, mentally ill and/or African-American—people who don’t vote.
Though he didn’t know the actual cost, the interim administrator told them that he would operate the jail under its current budget, and he assured the BCC that he can handle the Department of Justice and win the approval for his transition plan.
For the sake of the commissioners (whom the DOJ may hold personally liable if Touart fails), the hardworking detention deputies, who risk their lives daily, and the inmates and their families I hope that Touart fulfills his promises. I hope that no one dies while the jail is under their control and the improvements by Sheriff Morgan and his team don’t get tossed.
We will follow this transition closely, as I hope the commissioners will.