Council Questions Proposed Jail Addition

Starke County Justice CenterNearly six months after the first inmates moved into the new Starke County Jail east of Knox the architect and builder are recommending a $525,000 addition to the facility. Architect and project manager Scott Carnegie with DLZ told the council and commissioners an automatic auger would catch small items like cellophane and plastic wrappers inmates flush down the toilets and keep them out of the city’s sanitary sewer system.

There are already screens in place to do the job, but they have to be cleaned at least a couple of times a week by the facility’s maintenance director. The issue was raised during a presentation about proposed renovations to the former jail and courthouse and prompted a spirited discussion about why the auger wasn’t a part of the original facility plan.

Dion Katsouros from Skillman Corporation says the design team took their direction from the county’s project team based on information about what the city of Knox wanted to go into their sanitary sewer system. He adds the system at the jail is designed to keep large items, like sheets and clothing, from clogging the system. It works, but small things slip through.

Sheriff Bill Dulin told the council the only way to stop the flushing of items too small to be stopped by the existing system is to cut off inmate commissary entirely.

The auger would grind items up and dump them into a bag, which would still have to be changed once or twice per week.

The council and commissioners did not act on the proposal. They’ve scheduled a work session for Monday, Dec. 14 to review plans for renovations to the old jail and courthouse and prioritize other big ticket expenditures like a new ambulance, patrol vehicles for the sheriff and the five-year county road and bridge plan presented by the highway department and Starke County Economic Development Foundation.