Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

September 6, 2013

Public safety at the forefront

(Continued)

The sheriff said, “I did ask for pay raises. I think there needs to be some incentive there for people who want promotions and to take on extra duties” at the jail. “Law enforcement has changed dramatically” due to technology and training. Whipker said jailers must have 40 hours of training the first year and 16 hours annually after that.

Now jailers must recognize suicide signs and be able to classify inmates, Murphy noted. “It’s not something just anybody off the street can come in and do. You deal with feces, urine, blood on your person or thrown on your face.” He estimated half of those incarcerated have communicable diseases. Hepatitis is prevalent at the security center and at least one prisoner has HIV.

Likewise, the sheriff asked for more dollars for two communications center funds, E-911, from $135,380 in 2013 to a requested $160,685 in 2014; and statewide 911, from $434,758 to $483,080. He wants the center to have caller ID capability. “People hang up and we don’t know where they are.”

Reflecting on the jail budget, member Rebecca Oglesby, Brookville, had an idea. “What happens if we just farm out the inmates to another county? Would it be cheaper?” Murphy said, “We’re going to be paying them,” but he didn’t know how much. Now each Indiana county is paid $35 daily to house IDOC inmates waiting to go to state facilities. Whipker did the math. With an average of 60 inmates x $35 x 365 days, the annual total would be at least $766,500 because a county could charge more than the $35. Extra dollars would be needed to transport prisoners back and forth from different jails to Franklin County courtrooms.

Murphy pointed out, “You’re not going to find one jail” that would accept all 60 prisoners, so they could be scattered, some far away. “Nothing’s off the table. We’re discussing every option.”

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