So if you build all these new facilities, will more guards come? As I mentioned yesterday, sometimes the most important questions are the unasked ones, and I seldom hear anyone proposing new jail spending address this question head on.
Complicating matters further, Governing magazine's 13th Floor blog predicts that proposed permanent increases in numbers of US military personnel will make recruiting local police officers (not to mention guards at prisons and jails) increasingly difficult:
A commenter correctly adds another reason boosted military recruitment will impact recruitment of police officers and prison guards:
Over the past year, it's become increasingly clear that many municipalities are facing a crisis in police recruitment. There are plenty of factors involved -- from low unemployment to changes in the workforce -- but one of the reasons is more and more competition from the armed services, which themselves are pressed for manpower.
That's because cops and soldiers are similar folks. Both groups are disproportionately young, male, willing to accept dangerous careers and comfortable using firearms. As a result, if the military ups benefits to try to recruit more troops, police forces may have no choice but to follow suit.
many police officers are in the reserves and when they are called up to active duty they deplete the local police force. Larger departments are better able to handle this than smaller PD's.I've heard tons of anecdotal evidence that that's happening in Texas.
All the "tuff" jail and prison building proposals touted so cavalierly by those spending other people's money are always discussed based solely on building costs. But the really big items that soak taxpayers in the long haul are things like guard pay, constitutionally required healthcare for inmates, and other ongoing operational costs that stretch out ad infinitum.
If you can't find or afford guards to staff them, does it really matter how much prison or jail space you build?