Starke County Commissioners Approve a Contract to Assess Needs at the Jail

Starke County Jail

The Starke County Commissioners this week voted to enter into a contract with DLZ Corporation to assess the needs of the county for a new or remodeled jail.

Work will primarily be done by Criminal Justice Planning Specialist and Criminal Justice Systems Analyst, Paul Downing. He talked about the current jail facility.

“The jail is a linear design which we saw in the early 1900’s to about 1975. Jails that were built after that were podular ones, which are more staff efficient and more inmate supervision friendly,” Downing said.

Downing said if a new jail were built off-site, he could see a use for the current building.

“Without completing the study, my reaction would be using it for a community corrections work release facility. It would not require that intense level of security. In a residential work release facility, inmates could work in the community during the day, and return to the jail for supervision at night.”

One thing Downing would not use the current jail for is a juvenile holding center.

“I would not recommend it. Juvenile detention standards are strict. It requires certification from the state to operate. The state standards require a minimum of 100 square feet of program space for juveniles. That building would hold so few that it would not be financially feasible.”

The $4,500.00 fee for doing the assessment work will be refunded if DLZ is chosen to be the architect on a new or remodeled jail.