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To the Editor:

The Benton County Board of Commissioners is trying to improve the county justice system with its new Justice System Improvement Program. I have been following this program and the previous new jail programs for years. However, there are deficiencies with this new program as there were with the previous programs.

The first is that there is no cost-benefit analysis comparing the improvements with the system as it is now configured. The second is that, assuming that the proposed alternatives have the same benefits, alternatives using land the county now owns — other than the land the Crisis Center will be built on — do not appear to have been considered.

Specifically, the commissioners have not considered using the land occupied by the current courthouse and jail. If lands the county now owns had been considered, the commissioners may not be trying to acquire the land near the Hewlett-Packard building.

Cost-benefit analyses and cost comparisons should be done before major decisions are made, even if they have to be made treating the estimates as random variables. Precise analyses/comparisons made after decisions are made are useless.

It appears to me that the commissioners are trying to build a Taj Mahal instead of making improvements to our justice system at the least cost to the taxpayer. In November, we need to replace the commissioner up for re-election with Bill Kughn. Bill will demand least-cost improvements.

John Detweiler