Huh? Vacancies at the jail?
Erie County Sheriff Terry Lyons announced last month that there were vacancies at the county jail for the first time after nearly 15 years of nonstop, record overcrowding.
Lyons credited stepped up efforts to punish nonviolent offenders using alternative methods such as house arrest and electronic monitoring devices rather than a jail bed. A $212,000 state grant helped make that happen, but the success in decreasing the jail population from over-capacity to under capacity for the first time in eons no doubt can be traced back to a commitment that just wasn't there in the past.
And we're not going to bemoan that lack of commitment and resolve in the past too much, or the past missteps. Yes, it cost taxpayers hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years, but the only lesson here might be that resolve and cooperation can pay off.
We hope Sheriff Lyons, prosecutors, judges and the probation department are able to build on this first bright spot in a long time regarding a long-festering problem.
We'll keep our fingers crossed.