Duvall work release center seeks turnaround from bad history

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Andrea Hollinghead’s brother committed a financial crime and was sentenced to a year of work release as a low-level, non-violent offender.

In June, he moved into Marion County Community Corrections’ Duvall Work Release Center at 1848 Ludlow Avenue.

“His reaction there was he called it a trap house, an illegal drug house,” said Hollinghead. “His first week there someone OD’d in the dorm on the toilet with a needle. They had to bring him back with Narcan and then it happened again the following week.”

Those overdoses happened two months before Tyler Bouma took over as Executive Director of Community Corrections.

“We had folks that literally did not want to come to work release,” Bouma said. “They’d rather stay in jail because they were committed to their own sobriety. That’s a horrible indictment on us.”

Bouma said he moved quickly to put new security measures in place to block drugs and contraband from entering Duvall Center.

“Some of the steps we’ve implemented recently include use of technology, an x-ray machine currently for items coming in and out, we’ve changed our strip down policies and pat down policies for what people can bring in and what level we go through and check things. We’ve done some investigations on some staff members where appropriate.”

Bouma said two people were fired and residents now realize they can’t smuggle drugs into Duvall.

“We now check our staff members to make sure they’re not bringing in contraband,” he said. “In July we had 34 (residents) who left to go someplace during the month and didn’t come back when they were supposed to. That number has almost doubled as of today and what we’re getting back from folks is that is a direct result of us making it harder to get a cigarette into the facility or to bring their drugs into the facility so if they’re really desperate they’re not coming back.”

Duvall, with 350 male resident-offenders, is the largest work release facility in the state of Indiana.

It is a less onerous, cheaper alternative than sending non-serious offenders to the overcrowded Marion County Jail.

“It provides another option to being confined in jail,” said Bouma. “You then pay a fee to participate in this facility and are contributing back to your own keep, you’re developing more positive pro-social behaviors and hopefully improving from criminogenic behaviors, it’s a transitional process.”

Offenders pay various fees, including $14 a day, to serve their time at Duvall.

Hollinghead said her brother was financially gouged by the overhead costs at the center.

“He was getting about $40-46 a week for working 40-plus hours plus overtime,” she said.

Hollinghead said worse than the financial beating, her brother says he was was knocked unconscious and his head split open in an August attack orchestrated by another inmate.

“That guy had paid $50 for four guys, they had split $50, to jump him,” said Hollinghead. “The guy on the bunk below ran to the door screaming for medical help and they told them they need to get back on their beds, never came in the room. This happened two nights in a row, all on camera, nobody was aware of it.”

When staff asked Hollinghead’s brother to point out his attackers in front of the resident population, he refused, fearing retribution.

It wasn’t until an IMPD officer investigated and removed him that an arrest was made and Hollinghead’s brother was transferred to a safer state-run facility to finish serving his time.

“In the case you’re talking about they were very quick to react and return that person to a very safe environment,” said Bouma about the attack that occurred during his first week on the job. “There’s never no way for us to say you’re going to have a situation where you won’t ever have violence but our staff are trained and very good at de-escalation, working with our folks, trying to keep situations from escalating to that level

Hollinghead said she called prosecutors and the state correction officials to get her brother moved but only after being lied to by a Duvall case worker.

“’Nothing like that ever happened here,’” Hollinghead said she was told. “’That’s not true.’”

Hollinghead said that same case worker told her that corrections officers were so alarmed at her brother’s injuries that they drove him to Eskenazi Hospital for treatment.

She said her sister-in-law has a $7,000 ambulance service bill that proves otherwise.

While a tour of the facility today did not result in the observation of any obvious cleanliness or maintenance problems in the dorms, kitchen or bathrooms, Hollinghead said that wasn’t the case when her brother’s toddler came for a visit this past summer.

“Within 30 minutes of being there my niece had red spots, bites all over her and little bitty bugs just from sitting in the visiting room for thirty minutes.”

Bouma said he is unaware of any infestation issues at Duvall currently.

Community Corrections, and its Work Release and electronic monitoring services, will be key components as Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett moves forward with his plans to revamp the Marion County criminal justice system and build a new $570 million jail and courthouse facility on East Prospect Street.

Marion County makes extensive use of electronic monitoring to keep tabs on many offenders who are awaiting trial or serving their sentences at home.

“In Marion County we have we have 4,500 people on electronic monitoring which makes us the largest municipal user of electronic monitoring in the United States,” said Bouma.

Offenders are also expected to pay up to $14 a day for the digital gear intended to track them.

Bouma said his case workers handle an average of 90 clients apiece, which is 15-40 more than best practices mandate.

He is also looking to move the center out of the converted warehouse its called home for the last ten years into an intermediary facility while officials sort out the construction of the proposed criminal justice complex and Community Corrections’ possible place in it.

“We have lines of guys coming and going from this facility all day long because employment exists 24 hours a day seven days a week,” said Bouma. “The benefit is we improve on previous criminogenic behaviors.”

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