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Jail admissions down

State inmate population expected to pick back up

January 12, 2011
The Crawford County Council, in its first meeting of the new year, Monday, Jan. 3, took a look back at 2010 as it was presented the annual jail report.

Sheriff Tim Wilkerson, along with Chief Deputy Shawn Scott and Jail Commander Jason Carroll, offered detailed statistics, including those on housing, booking, jail incidents and staffing, for the past 12 months.

Admissions were down from 580 in 2009 to 498 in 2010, but continue to be mainly males between the ages of 18 and 44.

Jail population can fluctuate at any given time, in large part depending on the number of Indiana Department of Corrections offenders being housed, Wilkerson said. He noted that the jail had 14 prisoners when it opened in May 2004 and has had a high of 84.

While the jail has routinely housed about 50 IDOC inmates, it currently has just 15. Carroll said IDOC officials have assured him the decrease isn't because of anything due to the jail and that additional offenders will be coming soon.

The county is paid $35 per day by the state for each IDOC offender it houses.

"At 50 (IDOC prisoners), we're averaging a little over three-quarters of a million dollars a year," he said, noting that the amount of commissary receipts — money from the sale of snacks and drinks to offenders — is affected by the number of prisoners.

Council President Jerry Brewer said the facility was built at the size it was — it has 54 regular beds and 20 work-release beds — with the thought of housing IDOC prisoners. For the most part, he said, it has proved to be about the right size. However, he cautioned, it is important for the number of IDOC offenders to return to what it had been.

"Let's don't kid anyone," he said. "We cannot operate this budget on 15 (IDOC) prisoners. We cannot."

Regardless of the total population, at least three people — a control officer, booking officer and floor officer — per each of the day's three shifts are required, Scott said, again reminding the council of the amount of money the jail has brought the county.

"The sheriff's department has injected more money into this county probably more than any other office," he said.

The jail currently has six full-time jailers and 12 part-timers, Scott said, adding the number of full-time employees needs to be increased. The report recommended the addition of a supervisor for each shift and another floor officer for the first shift.

Carroll said that too often a jailer has to go into a cell block alone. It would still be dangerous with two jailers but safer than just one, he said.

"We've got cameras and monitors on (the prisoners), but they see us more than we see them," Wilkerson said.

According to the report, recent upgrades at the jail include the addition of a storage building, digital surveillance recording (VHS tapes had been used), painting of the floor, live scan fingerprinting and repair of the HVAC system. However, industrial washing machines and dryers are needed, as are more cameras for the judicial complex's exterior.

Wilkerson also briefly discussed some of the programs offered to offenders through Hoosier Hills PACT, such as GED education and substance abuse assistance.

Carroll said an update report will be given in June.

In other business, the council:

•Formally amended the riverboat gaming resolution to reflect the council's decision in December to allow the Crawford County Community School Corp. to use up to $250,000 of its distribution from 2010 toward a renovation project. Councilmen Joey Robinson, who voted against the action last month, and Steve Bartels, who wasn't on the council then, abstained.

•Reappointed Brewer and Jim Taylor as its president and vice president, respectively.

•Set its 2011 meetings for the second Tuesday of the month. Meetings in February, March, April, September, October, November and December will begin at 6 p.m., while those in May, June, July and August will start at 7 p.m.

•Rehired Marcus Burgher IV as its attorney for 2011.

•Made the following appointments: Louie Allstott to the Patoka Lake Regional Water District board and Sam Swan to the Alcohol and Beverage board.

•Approved the request of County Attorney John E. Colin to have his contract for 2011 include a provision to designate him as a county employee so that he has access to the county's group health insurance. Colin, who made the request, said the council's attorney has the same provision in his contract.

Auditor Ricki Hawkins said there is money in the budget since new District 1 Commissioner Daniel Crecelius is not taking county insurance.

•Approved Treasurer Kelli Slaughterback's request to purchase two computers to replace one that has quit working and another that is the same age.

•Informally pledged to fund the salary of a superintendent for the County Highway Department. The budget currently only has $7,000 for the position, which has been vacant since June.

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