New Committee Formed for Jail Progress


A new committee has been formed, made up of 20 officials and four members from the public. 

The Criminal Justice Advisory Committee is based around the next few steps regarding the Vigo County Jail. 

The last of three proposals will be in by Friday, in hopes to begin step 2: selecting a firm to complete a needs assessment at the public’s request.
This all comes before moving forward with plans for a $60 million dollar jail. 

“That’s one of the things, you know, we want to be transparent with this,” says Commissioner Brad Anderson. “We want everyone to know.”

Commissioners listened to representatives from many community organizations, hearing their wants and needs as far as this new needs assessment goes. 

“I do feel that this is progress,” says Gerri Varner. “I’m quite, maybe a little excited, because this could mean so much to our county.”

The few represent the many and when a compromise is made between the public and elected officials, well, that’s a win. 

“We got the list of who’s on the committee now, and so we feel that is moving forward also,” says Varner. 

The committee ranges from judges, mental health officials, law enforcement officers, members of the council and even the public. 

“It’ll be made up of people that are involved in making some of these decisions,” says Anderson. “So I think it’ll be a good committee.”

Currently two proposals are written and ready and now, we’re waiting on a third.

“BKD is the one who did Marion County, and we’ve requested a bid from them,” says Anderson. 

Once that’s received by this Friday, the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee will swing into full gear, working to choose the best out of the three for the job. 

“They of course are going to be key in working with this group,” says Varner. 

“By the end of the year, we’re hoping that we’ll be able to get funding and start on making a decision on how big of a jail we need and what else we can do to make this work,” says Anderson. 

As it stands Tuesday, Alan Beck has agreed to release his proposal for the public to view.

County Attorney Michael Wright is still waiting to hear back from Kenneth Ray, the partner with beck and also from Bill Garnos. 

Here’s the complete list of those on the criminal justice advisory board:

  •     Aaron Loudermilk, county council
  •     Mike Morris, county council
  •     Bill Thomas, county council 
  •     Sarah Mullican, judiciary member
  •     John Roach, judge
  •     Bill Watson, community corrections
  •     Jessica Woodruff, victim assistance
  •     Rob Roberts, prosecutors office
  •     Gretchen Etling, public defenders officer
  •     Diane Frazier, adult probation
  •     Deb Kesler, juvenile probation
  •     Mel Burks, mental health 
  •     Harsha, mental health
  •     Greg Ewing, law enforcement
  •     John Plasse, law enforcement
  •     Joe Newport, law enforcement
  •     Judy Anderson, commissioner
  •     Jon Marvel, commissioner
  •     Brad Anderson, commissioner
  •     Karrum Nasser, city council
  •     Lisa Spence, public
  •     Pat Ralston, public
  •     Bobby Moore, public
  •     Mary Kramer, public  

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