Inmate Behavior, Sentencing Delays Prompt Funding Request from Pulaski Sheriff’s Department

Jail inmates’ behavioral issues have led to some extra costs for Pulaski County. Sheriff Jeff Richwine told the county council last week that he’s sent two inmates to the Indiana Department of Correction, since the county jail staff is no longer able to handle them.

“One of them, we have had to the hospital five times because he comes up to the glass and bashes his head into the glass, and then we’ve got to take him to the hospital,” Richwine explained. “We get him back, he’s good for a week or two and he would go up and bash his head into the glass.”

Richwine said the second inmate had been in the county jail for almost two years. “To me, he was just going downhill,” he said. “We have filed charges upon charges upon charges on this guy, and it just doesn’t faze him. He keeps going downhill, and so I just thought it was best that we get him out of here. So he has filed several federal lawsuits. So far, both of those have been dismissed, and we’re waiting on some of the others. We’re going to hear about another one here within a month or two.”

The problem, according to Richwine, is that county jails aren’t set up to house inmates for more than a year-and-a-half. While most inmates are sent to one of the state’s facilities if they receive a multi-year prison sentence, the sheriff said it’s been taking longer for them to actually get through the court system. “Well, some of that has been the former judge,” Richwine told council members. “He was so far behind that these guys just don’t get moved out. Like I’ve said, I have nothing but good things to say about the judges that we have now, but this is not a problem that’s going to clean itself up within a day or two.”

Richwine explained that it costs the county $35 a day for the state to house one of the county’s inmates, something that wasn’t anticipated in this year’s budget. Council members agreed to move forward with appropriating enough money for the DOC to house the two inmates for a year. The sheriff pointed out that not all of that funding may end up being used, depending on how soon they’re sentenced.

The additional appropriation will be up for the council’s final approval next month.