Terre Haute - The possibility of a new Vigo County jail continues to be a hot topic. The county faces a lawsuit because of poor living conditions at the current facility and overcrowding. Tonight, a special forum was held to address the many challenges facing the county.
Approximately, 100 hundred people attended the forum at Terre Haute North High School. Many city and county leaders were also on hand for the meeting. The forum was conducted by an official with a consulting firm that specializes in helping communities deal with jail issues.
During a free flowing discussion, he said that physical condition of the current jail does not meet standards and it is overcrowded. For about two months his firm has been gathering information about the jail through data analysis and interviews with officials and the community. They hope to provide officials with an action plan to make a smart decision about the jail.
"It has to marinate the public has to keep learning and come around to understanding, said Dr. Kenneth Ray, RJS Justice Services. There's a lot of moving parts it's a complicated issue."
"This is something that a lot of people have been asking about and the feedback that I received after the meeting that people were glad this did occur, said Brendan Kearns, Vigo County Council.
Dr. Ray says a jail should be large enough to serve a community,but he also says it's equally important to find ways to prevent people from breaking the law. He says crime can be reduced by such things as an improved economy and drug treatment.
Tomorrow he will meet with representatives of the Hamilton Center. The center focuses on drug abuse treatment and prevention. Dr. Ray hopes to have a complete report ready for county officials in about 90 days.