Prison is not what Adams County needs

Published 4:35 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2007

As a resident of Adams County who lives less than three miles east of the site of the Corrections Corporation of America’s proposed prison, I decided not to become actively engaged in the confused, misinformed, non-informed and ill-informed controversy.

However, after reading the timely, informative article “CCA prisoner escapes,” at the top of page 6A in the Tuesday, April 3 copy of The Natchez Democrat, I am compelled to activate my inner compressed feelings.

My first concern is why there is such inadequacy and incompetency from CCA to restrain and contain a prisoner in a hospital to prevent him from overpowering a guard, taking his gun and clothes. He held hostage two hospital workers, the guard and three other prison officers. Seems to me there were four prison officers on the scene, all of who were inept, unable and probably untrained to serve in their capacity.

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The prisoner walked out of the hospital unrestrained, seemingly not pursued and fled on foot. Evidently, no CCA employee communicated with local law enforcement to alert them of what the criminal effectively attempted. In the course of traveling 150 miles, he robbed two banks, and broke into a home and took another hostage.

This episode could have very easily developed into the shooting deaths of seven hostages in a situation created by CCA. Surely for the grace of God their lives were spared.

In the name of progress, is this what Adams County needs? Absolutely not!

It creates fear in me to think of such a hostile environment for myself, not to mention my kids and grand kids in the future.

The only jobs I can see that it will provide are low paying, such as housekeeping, some maintenance, grass cutters, untrained guards, etc. All professional workers will be brought in from other places.

Let’s digress a little from CCA. I have a problem with the way the land came about being for sale. I pass this land every day and there has never been a “For sale by owner” sign, nor has there been a Realtor sign displayed on the property.

How did CCA know about this property being for sale? How was the deal consummated and survey markers put up before the public knew about it?

Why weren’t other areas entirely removed from residential properties and considered?

Had this property been made available and advertised in the proper and conventional manner, there might be in operation now a company that hired Adams County residents, paying them decent wages, building a county tax structure, necessitating the need of new housing for new residents and keeping a safe, secure environment for all the county.

Am I hearing an ominous overtone to say, “Citizens if CCA locates here, and you don’t have guns in your homes for your protection, then you might want to think about getting one. You have the right to protect you and your home.”

But, more emphatically and sensible, is to say CCA we don’t want you here.

Johnny B. Ratcliff is an Adams County resident.