Law enforcement officers seek the help of lawmakers for solutions to jail overcrowding issues

Local law enforcement officers are calling on state lawmakers to help give them some relief. One of those proposed bills is Senate Bill 120. It would allow judges to send those with low level felonies back to the state prison system to serve the remainder of their sentences, instead of staying in local jails.

Posted: Mar. 19, 2019 6:38 PM

CLAY COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI)- Local law enforcement officers are calling on state lawmakers to help give them some relief.

Sheriffs all across Indiana are spending the next few days at the statehouse discussing potential bills that could help with jail overcrowding issues.

News 10 told you Monday about House Bill 1078 that passed through the Senate.

That bill would allow judges to send those with low-level felonies back to the state prison system to serve the remainder of their sentences, instead of staying in local jails.

Authorities are also pushing for Senate Bill 120.

It would raise the daily fee sheriff's offices to receive for inmates from $35 to $55.

That money goes for housing inmates, food and maintenance.

Clay County Chief Deputy Sheriff Josh Clarke said this pay increase would help relieve the financial burden facilities are facing a growing number of inmates.

"There's a large burden that's been put on the local level and the sheriff and the councils and the commissioners to establish not only more employees, more funding for food, maintenance, employee salaries," said Clarke.

Those in the community said they were surprised to find out how little money the facilities received.

"I couldn't believe it was actually that low. I would think that $35 a day wouldn't pay for much of anything," said Edward Arend.

Law enforcement officers will be at the statehouse again Wednesday to show their support for the legislation.

Clarke said a big source of jail overcrowding statewide is linked to House Bill 1006.

That bill re-classified the state's criminal code, which passed in 2014.

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