Thursday’s public information meeting regarding the progress of the Starke County Jail Committee answered a number of questions from the community.
One question asked was whether or not prisoners could be used to clean up roads and do other work for the county, and committee member Dave Pearman said that is one possibility that is being considered. However, Pearman pointed out that prisoners need to be supervised at all times, and they also have to factor in the cost of transportation and the chance of escape.
When asked if prisoners could continue to be housed in nearby jails rather than build a new facility, Pearman said that would only be a temporary fix, and, further, the federal lawsuit would ultimately force the county’s hand to build a new facility.
County Commissioner Jennifer Davis asked what would happen with juvenile offenders, and Paul Downing of the DLZ Corporation told her that they have looked at the possibility of using the existing facility for juveniles, but because of space and staffing regulations, they learned it would cost less to send juveniles to a juvenile holding center.
While the committee is not yet sure on the exact location of the jail, they have discussed possibly using Parkview property in Knox or other property already owned by the county. It was pointed out that after payoff of the jail’s construction, staffing, and all the other expenses including interest, the cost is likely to be roughly $23 million.