Meeting Monday about ‘crisis’ at Marion County Jail

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Marion County jail system is in “crisis mode” and Sheriff John Layton is asking for help with inmate overcrowding.

The Criminal Justice Planning Council will talk about possible solutions, including early release of some inmates, at its meeting Monday afternoon.

Layton told the Criminal Justice Planning Council in April that his jail is in “crisis mode” when it bumps up against and exceeds its capacity for holding inmates.

The commission, made up of administration, court, criminal justice and other elected officials, asked the sheriff to come back with short term solution options at the May meeting.

Col. Louis Dezelan told the commission in April the jail system capacity throughout three facilities is 2,507.

Dezelan said the jail has stepped up its transfer of prisoners to the Department of Correction to twice daily and is shipping inmates to county jails as far away as Kentucky and Elkhart County at a cost of $40 per day in order to relieve crowding pressure.

“We’re looking for other places to put people,” said Dezelan. “We’ve got some facilities around the state that are open to receiving people. That’s going to cost us money. We want to accelerate the number of people that are supposed to go to Community Corrections. We would hope that Community Corrections is more highly utilized in the future.  And we would hope that the early release protocol would include things like considering Community Corrections and take a close look at everyone.”

Seventy-three percent of people processed at the Arrestee Processing Center are being transferred to the jail, said Dezelan, citing a double-digit increase over last year’s rate.

A crackdown in the apprehension of suspects with outstanding warrants and the local incarceration of low level felons who were previously housed at the state level have pushed the Marion County Jail to its capacity limits.

Layton told the commission that those offenders “need to be incarcerated for so many reasons,” yet the lawman said when it comes to jail crowding, “we have to come up with a plan. I can’t do it alone.”

The Criminal Justice Planning Council meeting is at 4 p.m. Monday.

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