> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
While not quite as cash-strapped as their eastern neighbors, Floyd County officials don’t like the lack of funding in the bill either.
“The burden is being placed on local governments,” said Floyd County Sheriff Darrell Mills. “It’s like when the state started forcing sex offenders to register with us. I agree with it and [it’s] something that needed to be done, but we didn’t get any extra funds for that. The burden was on us.”
In addition to rising costs, the bill will have the effect of reducing a current source of revenue, said Floyd County Commissioner Steve Bush.
“We get money now for housing federal inmates, and if more low-level offenders are put back in our jail, we will lose that money,” Bush said.
JAIL POPULATION IMPACT
Both sheriffs say their jails are already running at capacity. Mills estimates that by keeping perpetrators of crimes that are currently classified as D felonies in county jails, the impact in Floyd County would be an extra 43 prisoners per day.
“That could force the county to build a new jail,” Mills said. “I have worked diligently to keep the county from having to build a jail due to the recession and economy.”
Clark County last expanded its jail more than six years ago, at the start of Rodden’s first term. It wasn’t long ago that 486 prisoners was considered the Michael L. Becher Adult Correctional Complex’s maximum capacity. It now routinely houses more than 500 on average, Rodden said.
“We’re tight enough the way it is, and our population has grown,” Rodden said. “If we have to house more people, they’ll have to build a bigger place, because we’re already at maximum capacity.”
But not everyone shares the pessimism of the two sheriffs. Clark County Prosecutor Steve Stewart believes that the impact of HB 1006 on jail populations won’t be as bad as others say.