Committee Sees More Sub-Par Jail Conditions


The Gila County Facilities Planning Committee took its second guided tour of a jail and courthouse on Wednesday, this time in Globe, in an effort to gain more insight on the inadequate conditions plaguing Gila County's correctional facilities.

Nine members of the 11-member committee met in Globe to view, firsthand, the second half of the growing predicament that is Gila County's correctional facilities.

Committee member Tommie Rasmussen said that the facilities in Globe, while lacking sufficient room and updated equipment, were nowhere near as inadequate as the facilities in Payson.

"They still aren't good but they are better than Payson conditions," he said. "It's a world of difference--especially the jail."

After the tour, the committee met for a regular meeting and heard a presentation from Mark Reader about financing options that the county has to pay for new facilities in Payson and Globe, if the committee recommends them.

"It was an excellent presentation by Reader," Rasmussen said. "He's got it all spelled out."

Rasmussen said that Reader also provided a book on financing alternatives to the committee members. In it, the borrowing power of Gila County is discussed, as well as the possibility of a 25-year, half-cent sales tax increase for residents of Gila County.

Gila County Superior Court Judge Peter Cahill also attended the meeting and discussed the conditions in the courthouse, Rasmussen said.

The committee is in the beginning stages of its work, focusing on viewing and researching problems in county facilities, said David Steele, committee facilitator.

"We haven't gotten into the real meat of things yet," Rasmussen said. "In the near future we will probably start assimilating this information together.'

Rasmussen added that the committee wants to receive all the information possible before it begins making decisions that will affect the county.

"It's going to be a productive group," he said.

The committee was created to assess the need for new correctional facilities in Gila County. It is comprised of members appointed by each town and tribe in the county. The committee will present its recommendation to the Gila County Board of Supervisors, possibly by May.

The committee will meet next week in Camp Verde to tour a newer facility there in order to get an idea of how modern facilities work, Steele said.

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