'We need to do something and we need to get there quick,' Conversation continues on new jail, THPD Sgt. talks new study

Last week's jail forum is raising many questions for county leaders.

Posted: Jun. 12, 2018 11:00 PM

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Last week's jail forum is raising many questions for county leaders.

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"Everybody's in agreement that we need a new jail, the size of it is the question," said Sgt. Steve Lockard, Terre Haute Police Department.

Lockard brought his concerns to the Vigo County Council on Tuesday night.

After RJS Services proposed 462 beds for the new jail facility, Lockard said they created their own study with help from RJS' findings.

Lockard said the study is based on the current jail population, along with other elements like the failure rates of alternative detention programs like home detention and work release.

According to Lockard's study, the average failure rate of those programs is around 28 percent. Lockard said those are just preliminary numbers as they wait for more to come in.

LINK | SEE THE STUDY HERE 

"We're all for second chances and we want people to have those opportunities," Lockard said, "but we want people that fail those opportunities to be held accountable as well, and the failure rate of those programs, I feel, it's important the jail has adequate room for those people."

Lockard said he believes the RJS Study is on the right track. However, he's hopeful more parties will be included in the conversation going forward.

"I think there's been a drastic need for law enforcement's opinion in this whole thing, and I think that's been left out," said Lockard.

LINK | DOUBLE THE BEDS AND DO IT NOW: RESULTS COME IN FROM NEW JAIL STUDY

While time is ticking for progress on a new facility, Council President Aaron Loudermilk said he believes it's time the county start thinking about action.

"It's been agreed upon by all parties that our current facility is unconstitutional, and it's not an adequate or appropriate facility not just for the inmates, but also for people who work there," Loudermilk said, "So we need to do something, and we need to get there quick."

LINK | RJS JUSTICE SERVICES RELEASES PRELIMINARY JAIL SURVEY RESULTS

Loudermilk called Lockard's study very informative and noted it gave insight to those who are not part of the criminal justice system.

"The system is very taxed at this point," Loudermilk said, "Bill Watson does a tremendous job with what he has. The argument can be made that his staff is really taxed at this time and there a lot of people in those programs. With that, the public needs to understand that we do have good programs in place. However, if there's nowhere to house people that aren't conforming to the rules of their release, there's nowhere to put them once they violate the conditions of their release, then there's really no teeth in the programs."

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