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Monday, July 27, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - New state law funding local jails requires counties to apply

Mike Grant of the Washington Times Herald reported this weekend (here via Indiana Economic Digest):

The state of Indiana is working out the details on a new law that will provide funding for jails and community corrections operations throughout the state and Daviess County Sheriff Jerry Harbstreit will be among those helping establish the guidelines for grants that will come from the new law.

During its last session the General Assembly passed House Bill 1006 that was also called the Criminal Justice Funding Law. The measure will offer millions of dollars to throughout the state for jails and community corrections programs to provide drug addiction and mental health programs for offenders.

"One thing the state did differently this time is they are requiring the counties to make applications for the money," said Harbstreit. "They are not sending money to each county and telling them to spend it wisely. They are requiring the counties to tell specifically what they are going to do."

The bill was supported by the Indiana Sheriffs' Association. Now, as President of the ISA, Harbstreit will be part of a key advisory committee that will work with the Indiana Department of Correction and the Indiana Division of Mental Health and addiction in establishing guidelines for grants and helping to determine what programs get funded.

"We are going to try and set it up right," said Harbstreit. "It should set things up so that the money gets used in the most productive way."

Many counties like Daviess are already operating drug addiction programs within their jail and community corrections operations. In Daviess County, it is called the RARE Program. That program was originally established under a grant, but when the funding ended the county continued to operate it with some local funding and a lot of volunteers.

"About one quarter of our general jail population is involved in the RARE Program," said Harbstreit. "We also have a lot of people taking part who are on home detention and in the work release program. This is all about getting these people to make good decisions and not wind up back in jail when they get out."

In Knox County, there is an interdiction program in the jail called Life After Meth, Harbstreit says Grant County in northern Indiana has a similar program.

"A lot of agencies like us are excited about this," said Harbstreit. "This could be the answer to our prayers. We may be able to get the money to the programs where it needs to be. We could hire more professionals to give these people what they really need."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 27, 2015 09:57 AM
Posted to Indiana Government