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Looking to a new jail

March 9, 2011

    It's only a matter of time before a new Adams County Jail will have to be built, since the current one is almost 31 years old and can hold only 60 inmates.
    At Tuesday's session of the county council, a discussion about building a new jail was held, with council president Randy Colclasure saying one idea that's been propounded is for a 250-bed jail.
    With a jail of that size, he stated, 100 beds could be set aside to house people from other Indiana counties, with the county charging $35 a day per person. If all 100 beds were occupied for a year, that would bring in $1.2 million, he said.
    Colclasure said county jails all over Indiana will be called upon to handle more prisoners because state prison officials have decided to have local facilities keep less-serious felons as a way to cut down the state's growing prison expenses.
    Since the state will do that, he said, if Adams County does not have enough room in its jail, it will have to pay $35 per inmate per day, which will be a big cost to the county.
    Colclasure said Jay County opened a new jail last year that cost $7 million and has 120 beds.
    He said the beds would be arranged in pods, with a control center manned by guards at all times to open and close doors and oversee the inmates in a mini-prison-like manner.
    County Auditor Bill Borne said some have proposed building a large jail at a central location to serve several counties.
    Colclasure says Sheriff Shane Rekeweg has stated his wish to keep the jail in Decatur, preferably close to the two courts, which are downtown, rather than placing a new jail in a rural area.
    Among the ideas for the jail, said Colclasure is expanding the present one into the adjacent lot on which the previous jail sat for decades; building a new jail where the old jail was; and putting a jail on First St., between Madison and Jefferson Sts., by tearing down several structures.
    Other ideas have been to build a jail on county land near Golden Meadows Home, a couple of miles outside Decatur, or to build a jail at Grant and High Sts., where Adams Memorial Hospital stood for more than 80 years, according to Colclasure.

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