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Building a new jail is not under consideration by Adams County officials in the immediate future, but a joint meeting on Tuesday of the county council and county commissioners offered a different idea to help pay off debt for a new jail: shift payments from property owners to lawbreakers.
Council President Randy Colclasure suggested that a jail able to hold 250 people could be built (far larger than the 59-bed facility in use here since 1980) and the income from housing inmates from other counties or from the federal government would help pay off a bond issue used to build the lockup.
"We can create revenue with the jail," stated Colclasure. The amounts that can be legally charged per person per day are $35 for prisoners from other Indiana counties and $68 for federal prisoners.
Colclasure said Wayne County, where Richmond is the county seat, built a jail to hold 400 people and has mostly paid off its bond issue in seven years. In addition, Colclasure said Adams County Sheriff Shane Rekeweg told him a much larger jail could be built without adding jailers because of technology and design features. The council leader said the new Jay County jail, with room for 140 inmates, has only two or three jailers on duty per shift.
Those at the meeting also heard from State Rep. Matt Lehman of Berne about the prospects for an idea to provide state money to counties to house people convicted of lesser crimes in county jails rather than in state prisons.