Members of the Starke County Jail Committee toured a number of jail facilities throughout the state last week. Starke County Council President and Jail Committee member Dave Pearman was just one of the members who went to the Jasper County Jail, and he explained why the members went to that jail.
“One of the key reasons why we were taken to Jasper County Jail is their community, at the time of their jail planning, was about the size of ours. We have about 23,000 in our community and they have about 35,000 today. They have a 120-bed facility, it’s state of the art and it very much fits what we think our model possibly could be if we actually do decide to build a new facility,” said Pearman.
While it hasn’t been determined that the Starke County Jail Committee will build a new jail, the committee is still considering several options for a jail facility.
“We have the option of doing nothing, developing the existing jail or remodeling the existing site, or seeking an alternative site which possibly could be a new construction or we could possibly look at. We are also considering looking at an existing structure and outfit that or renovate that accordingly,” said Pearman.
Either way, the officials do believe that something needs to be done.
“It would be better for us to make a forthright decision on something proactive, rather than having a judge from a court outside of Starke County dictating what we have to do next, which could be we have to spend tax dollars to satisfy whatever solution that he sees fit,” said Pearman.
The committee has been doing a lot of fact finding, and DLZ Engineering has been looking at statistics and data for Starke County to help move the project forward.
“The next thing that we’re going to do is present where we are today with Starke County, where we think we’re going to be in the years to come and then using some modeling and some information that we’ve learned from both the jail visits and their specific expertise what we would propose to be some absolute or some more choices for what we would do moving forward,” said Pearman.