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Letting inmates fill potholes is win-win for the taxpayers

Published: Mon, March 10, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

Letting inmates fill potholes is win-win for the taxpayers

Potholes are everywhere in the Mahoning Valley. Recently, a fellow YSU student had two flat tires within 30 minutes. This is not the only incident of a flat tire or bent rim as the results of a pothole in Youngstown.

It isn’t just the streets around YSU, but all over the Valley there are death traps for cars around almost every corner. These holes are ready to eat your tires! What solution is Mahoning County taking?

Criminals fill the streets — to avoid jail time. Nonviolent criminals have the opportunity to avoid jail time by filling potholes. This solves so many problems all in one, but as with everything else, not everyone is happy.

First, it reduces the amount of money the county has to pay for road crews to fill the holes. With the amount of snow we have had this winter — an alternative to filling the holes needed to be found. As a result of the snow apocalypses, we now have a hole apocalypse on the streets.

Day-reporting inmates will be given this as an alternative to jail time. This in turn will give inmates a chance to help give back to the community and begin to pay back their debt.

This solution to the potholes seems to be a great decision, but what about the workers who in previous years were responsible for filling the holes? They are part of a labor union so it is not like their jobs are at stake but their hours.

This time of the year is guaranteed overtime for those in road repair. But money that last year these people counted on — is no longer theirs.

It is easy to see why labor-union crews would be upset about this newest decision; however the good outweighs the bad. As a labor union worker I’m sure some are wondering “it’s potholes now, but what will it be in a year?”

I think the county can agree that filling potholes can be a mundane task. I would rather our skilled road crew be focused on bigger projects, and let’s save taxpayer money by letting inmates fill the holes.

Karen Bell, Salem


1NBees(53 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

I respectfully disagree. It won't save taxpayers money - they will just spend it on something else so they should hire temporary workers to help the road crews. The last thing we need is temptation for local governments to round up able bodied jaywalkers and other non-violent "criminals" to use as free laborers filling pot holes and doing whatever else they think up. We have lost enough jobs to for-profit prisons and programs making people work off food stamps and such. It might actually help reduce crime and/or poverty by hiring people for real jobs, even if temp jobs - put shovels in hands and paychecks in pockets.

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2redvert(2165 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

eivo, you pretty well nailed it!!!

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3Cosmo19(53 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

As you reject the notion of hiring temps, do you support the use of day-reports (on a temporary basis) to assist with manual county labor?

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476Ytown(1318 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

fd6636: You can't compare pot holes to a huge order in private industry.

There are enough pot holes to keep the union and the prison folks working for quite some time. In the meantime, the taxpayers pay a hefty price for having to navigate the pot holes with our loss of time, damage to our vehicles and accidents, not to mention our taxpayer dollars wasted.

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5HappyBob(285 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

Concisely said!

Imagine the costs to the state/county/municipal governments if they were held liable for damages caused by potholes.

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676Ytown(1318 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago


Keep reporting the pothole problem. If you have noticed and/or have experienced damage to your vehicle on a State System roadway as a result of a pothole, debris on the road, etc., please use the form below to send ODOT information about the location and incident. http://www.dot.state.oh.us/damagerepo...


In the meantime, the unions filed a grievance over over the use of day reporting inmates, who are people convicted of non-violent crimes and chose to work off their obligations rather than spend time in the Mahoning County Jail.

Curious...just how many crews do we have on the job?

FYI: Ohio must pay $1.8M award in fatal pothole crash. http://www.northwestohio.com/news/sto...

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7uptowngirl(125 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

The union can grieve, cause a rebellion or whatever. As a voter and taxpayer the union's action is a "no" vote for extension of the sales tax any election from this point forward. No entity represents the taxpayers in the union negotiations. The taxpayers must represent their interests at the ballot box. The union's action is extremely offensive in light of the amount of overtime paid during this winter and the terrible condition of the roads.

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876Ytown(1318 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

The City of Cleveland has twelve to sixteen crews working to fill potholes in the City’s approximately 10,200 main and residential streets. http://www.city.cleveland.oh.us/Cityo...

I wonder how many crews in Mahoning County?

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9ediorio(2 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

Karen, I agree with you because the people who are filling potholes seem to be overwhelmed at this point, since there are so many of them all over the city. The road crews have so many different projects to complete, that it seems like a great idea to put criminals to work filling potholes. Also, inmates will be contributing to the community, which is the idea of criminal corrections anyway.

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10joannetombo(2 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

I honestly don't care who fills the potholes at this point- I am just sick of driving like a crazy person trying to avoid them! Great letter, Karen. Definitely an issue many people have strong opinions about!

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11ajtonoli(2 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

I think it's a great idea to let inmates fill the holes! It's a way of repaying their debt to society. Awesome idea Karen!

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12bnlandsberger19(2 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

This is definitely an interesting idea. The potholes in the Youngstown and surrounding areas are terrible and some course of action needs to be taken. New tires and rims are very costly, with everything people have to worry about, potholes shouldn't make the top ten.

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