Sheriff Looks for Funds to Cover Drug Counseling Costs

Starke County Sheriff's Department BadgeStarke County Sheriff Bill Dulin wants to charge inmates a fee to cover the cost of drug counseling services at the jail. He presented his idea to the county commissioners Monday evening.

“What we came up with was the convicted inmate reimbursement cost of incarceration. It’s an ordinance. Basically we’re going to assess a fee to them if they’re convicted, and then with council approval take that money and use it for drug counseling in the jail.”

County attorney Marty Lucas notes defendants who are deemed indigent based on established federal poverty guidelines do not have to pay the fee. He adds collection of the fee would require the court to enter an order for payment during either sentencing or pretrial diversion. Additionally the county council would need to set the per day rate they would charge.

Lucas notes state law allows money generated through such a fee to be used for inmate programs at the jail.

“It’s clearly legal if we follow the statute, and it will generate some revenue, assuming the court is happy to work with it. It probably won’t generate a ton of money, but everything helps, right?”

Before such a fee can be collected, a public hearing will need to be scheduled on the proposed ordinance to establish it. No such hearing has been set at this time.