5 Allen County Jail Questions

FORT WAYNE, Indiana (WANE) – For more than a year, WANE 15 has kept you updated on the Allen County Jail, the 2020 federal lawsuit brought by the ACLU Indiana and inmates alleging overcrowding, undercrowding and changes in local incarceration forced. the proposal to build a new prison; and the responsibilities of the Allen County Sheriff, Allen County Commissioners, and the criminal justice system.

In March we brought you exclusive footage from the Allen County Jail. You have to see the place from the aging gray walls to the dingy A-block, the rusting steel bed in a cell, the kitchen, the jail and the basketball courts and other rooms.

Now we’re going to clear up a few misconceptions that have been circulating in local reports and social media lately. Deputy Chief David Butler, prison commandant, sat down with WANE to answer some key questions.

1. What is the daily rate for housing an inmate and who pays?

answers: If the inmate is a convicted inmate, which means a Level 1 through 6 felony, the state pays a daily rate of $37.50. The per diem is also paid for federal arrest and probation. The number of inmates paid for Thursday was 118 out of 688, according to data-crunched butler and deputy prison commandant Mark Sickafoose. The rest of the inmates are paid for by county taxpayers, he said

2. Some people believe that the daily rate is $58 per day. How did this misunderstanding come about?

answers: US Marshalls struck a deal with Allen County to hold federal inmates at a rate of $58 a day. The Allen County Commissioners canceled the contract, which was valued at more than $1 million a year on June 15. The last federal inmate was evacuated on June 2. The move was done to reduce the prison’s population, which averaged about 800 inmates per day. The number of federal inmates typically ranged from 30 to 35.

3. What about the 160 inmates listed as “on hold”? Looks like there are so many!

answers: Usually inmates are held on hold for another county. That is, when they finish their business here, they are taken to other districts. In a recent census published on the Allen County Commissioners’ website, some of these counties included Adams, Bartholomew, Decatur, DeKalb, and Elkhart, to name a few.

Other arrests include inmates waiting to be transferred to the Indiana Department of Corrections, which takes in about 10 county inmates a week.

Other grounds for detention include inmates in fugitive detention from other states, Victim Assistance Detention, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and fingerprinting.

For example, Victim Assistance tracks inmates charged with household batteries to notify family of the inmate’s release.

Fingerprint holders are something like a “Post-it” note. In booking data, it reminds prison staff that the inmate must be fingerprinted. In Allen County, an inmate is fingerprinted upon booking and then if he or she is held for 72 hours, the inmate is re-treated and fingerprinted again.

“The report shows you about 160 people who have some kind of influence, but what the report doesn’t show you are their other charges and why they’re here,” Butler said. “A majority of them, almost all of them, are here on other cases, regardless of whether there is a court case pending, and also they have pending status for another county or pending status for parole, etc.

4. Why can’t the county finish the 4th Floor? It’s been empty for years

answers: It has, but for now it has another use. Because Federal Judge Damon R. Leichty ruled on March 31 that changes are needed at the Allen County Jail and that this includes resting at least three times a week per inmate, prison staff had to open a basement room used for storing and cleaning inmate belongings will deliveries. The property storage was moved to the empty fourth floor. If completed, it would house about 52 inmates, insufficient to meet current or future local detention needs.

“It’s not a whole floor. It has been empty since 2004. When we say unfinished there are no walls, no cells. It’s just an empty, open, empty floor. Opposite is a cell block that we use. When we had to increase occupant recovery and occupant recovery frequency in response to the federal lawsuit, we had to reclaim territory. ”

5. Why can’t they just fix the prison instead of spending $300-350 million on a new prison complex?

Among other components that have changed since the original prison was built in 1981, the current prison does not meet state prison standards for cell size and showers. Subsequent additions in 1994 and 10 years later are better, but still not optimal.

“Only maintenance is now the biggest challenge,” Butler said. “In the oldest part of the prison we have pipes lined with reinforced concrete that are literally rotting, how brittle, rotting, leaking, which the district administration deals with almost every day.

“When you’re talking about larger-scale rehab, like bringing it up to prison standards, you can’t just move walls. It’s concrete, rebar, reinforced walls,” Butler explained.

There are not enough areas for programming in the existing prison. Prison staff cleared a small block to make room for JCAP – Jail Chemical Addiction Programs.

But in a new POD prison design, inmates would live in an area containing indoor and outdoor recreation rooms, classrooms, and cells where the cell lines are outside the cell, preventing the inmates from using sinks and Overflowing toilets and threats and smuggling get delivered through the pipes.

Butler said the county is looking at a model that would be something like the Adams County Jail, which was built about five years ago. The local sheriff’s department worked with architects to include more classrooms in each POD, programming rooms to give the prison more options and better ability to offer different classes like substance abuse, domestic violence, church services and all.

If you have additional questions about the Allen County Jail, prison procedures, and the future of the prison, we will try to get answers for you. Submit your questions to wane.com/report-it/.

https://www.wane.com/news/5-questions-about-the-allen-county-jail/ 5 Allen County Jail Questions

Dais Johnston

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