News and Tribune

Floyd County

May 6, 2013

Criminal code changes could crunch county clinks

Local officials predict more strain on jail populations, budgets; Bush has idea for regional jail

(Continued)

> SOUTHERN INDIANA —

“I don’t think it’s going to greatly affect the numbers that stay here or go upstate,” Stewart said. “Overall, every prosecutor, judge, public defender or any participant in the criminal justice system has to be aware of the current population of our jail and that means that everybody we’d like to see in jail can’t be in jail, and there will be some decisions made about bail for pretrial detainees and some misdemeanor offenders, anyway. 

“Some hard decisions will have to be made, short of putting them in the local jail.”

Stewart also pointed out that there is another legislative session scheduled before the bill is implemented on July 1, 2014, should it be signed by Gov. Mike Pence. 

“It’s anticipated that there still be much more discussion and committee hearings,” Stewart said. “Our statewide board of directors has taken up the issue and made proposals on each of the proposals in the criminal code as it affects prosecutors.”

 

OTHER AFFECTED DEPARTMENTS

But the jails aren’t the only places that will feel the impact of HB 1006, officials say. Inmate populations are but one piece of the puzzle. 

“I think it puts more pressure on the judges and probation officers [who already have] a large case load,” Bush said. 

Clark County is barely handling that aspect as it is, Commissioner Rick Stephenson said. 

“We’re looking at the majority of our budget right now going for ... housing prisoners and adjudicating their cases. Now the judges are fine because the state pays their salary,” Stephenson said. “They’re a state employee. But we still have to have all of the support staff, the office space, the furniture and all of the costs that are incurred in running the offices. Clark County cannot afford the money right now that we’re spending on the court system and the jail.”

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