A bipartisan task force to address jail overcrowding kicked off the first of three meetings with local law enforcement around the state Monday in French Lick.
State Representative Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) proposed legislation creating the task force earlier this year, after hearing about jail overcrowding problems in each of the seven southeast Indiana counties he represents.
“Building a new jail will accommodate more prisoners, but it doesn’t solve the problem, it’s more about treating the symptom,” Frye says.
Frye says the task force will look at whether overcrowding is linked to prisoners not being able to post bail, longer sentences, and drug problems.
Representative J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) says he’s worried about having enough people on staff at jails to deal with mental health issues.
“I’ve heard from different folks that our jails are serving as detox centers, I’ve heard from different folks that mental health is a problem,” Ford says.
The panel will forward its findings to the state legislature in early 2020.
The task force will hold two more meetings on Oct. 30 and Nov. 6, and will announce a location later.