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Public Input Meetings Held for Johnson County Jail

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--The discussion of the jail's need for additional space continues in Johnson County.

City officials held another public meeting today--the fifth of seven.
Johnson County residents came out for yet another public meeting, one of them Amanda Murphy who says she voted no in May.
"To me we can better spend our resources that building bigger and bigger jails if we deal with our issues before we put people in jail," she said.
She says the city needs to create support systems.

Such as organizing more community outreach that deal with mental health and substance abuse.
"I would say that there's been no consensus. I've yet to find one person who totally agrees with the other person and I think that's part of the problem," said Johnson County supervisor and Chairperson Janelle Rettig.
In May the county failed to get the green light from voters to build a new jail and courthouse. It needed 60 percent to pass but got 54. Now city officials are back at it again, trying to get public input so they will support a new proposal.
Some residents said they voted against the last proposal because it failed to address the high number of minorities in jail. City officials say that is not an easy issue to tackle.
"The issues all get meshed together but you still need more courtroom space and jail even if you believe everything else about that is wrong," said Rettig.
The residents we spoke with say the meetings are important so they can hear about these issues and discuss them.
"If you don't come and voice your complaint, your complaint doesn't matter, so you don't matter," said Mary Gravitt.

Another public meeting is scheduled for Sunday at four at the Johnson County Administration building.

The final one is set for Monday August 26th at 6:30 at the Lone Tree Community Building.

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