Starke County Officials Endorse Jail Review, Selects Community Committee

Starke County Jail

Starke County government officials endorsed a comprehensive jail review last night that will end with a decision on what to do about the 33-year-old facility.

Commissioner Kathy Norem presented to the county officials in attendance findings from a recent jail conference attended by a five person committee from Starke County. Norem said this is a thorough review of all of the options available.

The County Council gave approval to a community committee recommended by the five people who attended the conference. The committee includes Attorney Martin Lucas; Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall; CASA President, Ron Henningsmith; Carol Johnson, a Starke County Community Corrections board member; and Ted Hayes.

Norem stressed that the group will be following a nine phase process that could end by deciding not to construct a new jail. She listed other options as remodeling the current facility, signing a long term lease with a private company to run the jail, contracting with a neighboring county to house Starke County prisoners, or remodeling another structure already in the county as a jail.

Since the conference, Sheriff Oscar Cowen has requested an inspection of the jail by the National Institute of Corrections. That inspection report will give those involved an idea of the current condition of the jail.