Terre Haute Mayor Wants Study Committee To Fund Prisons

Terre Haute’s mayor says he’d like to see a committee examining sentencing reform in Indiana consider funding local prisons as part of the solution.

Photo:

Solving the prison cost problem means paying to reduce recidivism, Mayor Duke Bennett says.

The city of Terre Haute contains a federal penitentiary and the Vigo County Jail.  But while the city doesn’t own either facility, Mayor Duke Bennett says the prisons still place a financial burden on his community.  So while a summer study committee examines changes to the state’s criminal justice system, Bennett said he’d like to see more cash funneled to local governments to solve issues ancillary to the locking up of criminals.

“There’s not enough money to pay for the monitoring that needs to be done or the probation officers that need to be done,” Bennett said.  “There’s been cuts kind of across the board, so if you change the system at that state level and you don’t increase some funding in the areas, then we’re going to end up paying for it then back through the law enforcement, the prosecutor side, the courts side again.  So we’re spending the money anyway.”

Martinsville Representative Ralph Foley sits on the Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy study committee and said he’s in favor of a proposal which would do just what Bennett asks, sending back any savings the committee eventually finds to local governments – but with instructions on how to use it.

“The money has to be targeted.  It can’t be a blank check so that we go out and buy company cars or matching shirts,” Foley said. “I’m being a little facetious, but what we want to make sure is that the money goes to where it benefits the kind of programming that we feel has a better chance of success.”

Foley said he’s not sure how much money can be saved, but added he thinks too many state prisoners are already being housed in local jails due to overcrowding at state pens.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search News

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

Follow us on Twitter

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Recent Stories

Recent Videos

Find Us on Facebook