INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - There’s a sign next to the front door of the Duvall Center warning residents, staff and visitors to not bring drugs into the work release site.
Not everybody pays attention to the sign.
“About a month ago we had a weekend where we had approximately 16 overdoses over the course of about 72 hours,” said Scott Hohl, Chief Financial Officer of Marion County Community Corrections. “Everyone who walks into this facility is searched.”
Hohl said staff and visitors are patted down and residents are strip searched, but with 240 residents, returning from jobs to spend their nights locked up for months and even years to finish their sentences, such thorough searches are time consuming and limited in their effectiveness.
Sunday afternoon, crews were assembling a full body scanner paid for with an emergency $165,000 allocation.
“We’ve had a couple of real close calls where we had a lot of overdoses in a very short period of time,” said Tyler Bouma, Executive Director of Marion County Community Corrections. “We’ve changed some of our policies and procedures for how we allow people in and out of the building, for how many times a day we search lockers or bunks or people, we’ve increased the training we’ve given them.”
Bouma said that since coming on last August, he has fired at least a dozen staffers for actively trafficking with or overlooking drug dealing amongst residents, or engaging in inappropriate conduct.
The new scanner should cut search time from a maximum of twenty minutes to mere seconds.
“We believe that people are swallowing balloons of drugs or secreting them in their body in other ways and that’s why we need the body scanner,” said Bouma. “It will now allow us to check a resident head-to-toe completely for anything ingested, secreted, in pockets, whatever, in seven seconds.”
As recently as two years ago, residents and their supporters often complained to CBS4 that drugs were as easy to come by inside the Duvall Center as they were out on the streets.
"Not anymore", said Bouma.
“I absolutely believe that was true at one point,” he said, “but with the steps we have taken there has been a dramatic decrease in the amount of illicit substances and even cigarettes entering the building and being consumed.”
Bouma expects construction of the scanner to be completed by Monday evening with training set to begin immediately and the first offenders examined Friday.
At 350 beds, the Duvall Center is larger than most county jails in Indiana and permits offenders to serve out their time, paid for out of their own pockets, at a fraction of the cost compared to prison or jail cells.
Marion County Sheriff John Layton is in the process of buying two body scanners for the jail and the arrestee processing facility in the basement of the City County Building.