Jason Mercier, (In Focus, Aug. 24) stated it is time for the elected officials to enact the promised performance audits of the new resources generated by the public safety tax. The first performance audit goal I would propose is that the 25 percent of the inmates in the Benton County jail, according to National Public Radio, who are not in jail for their misdemeanor charge, but because they failed to pay court fines and fees should be increased to 30 percent. This goal would help to maintain our national standing of having incarceration rate that is 5-10 times the incarceration rate of other democracies. The Bearden vs Georgia Supreme Court ruling should not stand in the way of meeting this goal. Increasing the interest rate on fees and fines from 12 percent to 18 percent would increase the monies collected by Benton County. Commissioner Jerome Delvin stated that the monies collected by Benton County, ranks among the top in the state.
Second goal: Ranking among the top is not good enough. The increased interest rate will put more deadbeats in arrears and back in jail meeting the 30 percent goal and helping to maintain our international standing.
MICKEY BEARY, Richland