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Criminal Justice Day for Leadership Marshall County

February 18, 2013

  02/19/13 Last week members of the current Marshall County Leadership class spend half a day learning about criminal justice in the county.

Judge Curt Plan from Circuit Court spoke to the group Wednesday afternoon about the various types of cases he sees.  There were a total of 11,820 new cases filed in 2012.  The judge also briefly went over the budget. Judge Palmer handles all of the juvenile delinquent cases in the county, last year there were 93 cases taken to his court.  If the child involves admits guilt, many times they are sent to Youth Court where they are tried and given punishment by their peers, one of which must have been a juvenile delinquent at some point.  Typically a teen found guilty will be given community service or assigned the task of writing a paper.  Children who don’t end up in Youth Court see the judge where they may end up on probation, house arrest, counseling or even sent to the Department of Corrections for Youth.

Deputy Prosecutor Nelson Chipman spoke to the Leadership class about the various cases the department sees and how the court is run.  Representative from the Probation Department also spoke candidly about “their kids”.  The explained how they track kids and watch what they are doing.

  Later in the afternoon the class had an opportunity to tour the Marshall County Correctional facility.   Leadership class member and jail employee, Mike Mattern gave the visitors a look at the video arraignment room where a judge can begin the initial hearing without having to move the inmate.

   The chairs in this room are bolted to the floor so they can’t be thrown by an inmate.

 The outdoor recreation area wasn’t too impressive to the group.  Basically it’s a big open room with nothing in it but a tall roll up-up louvered door that is 8 or 9 feet off the floor and can be opened in good weather.

  The sheriff has taken steps to reduce utility bills in the jail by only hearing the outdoor recreation area when inmates are in it. An inmate gets 1 hour weekly in outdoor rec.  He has also limited hot water for showers.

Leadership class members were able to climb the circular staircase to the observation room overseeing the inmates in the pods.  Pods are divided into categories, minimum security, median security, and maximum security.  Male inmates are classified and placed into the proper pod.  Mattern said the female inmates are typically just housed in one pod or two if they are busy.

  The tour included the booking area where detainees are fingerprinted and held for a few days to see if they will be able to bond out.  This was explained as another way to save money by not having to clothe them in jail attire.

  At the conclusion of the tour, in the front lobby they were show the new machine that allows someone to pay a bond by cash or credit card and put money on the account of an inmate.  This new process frees up the dispatch center employees would have had to take the money, count it, document it, and receipt it.  Now its handled by a machine and works very well.

At the conclusion of the tour a representative from the Indiana State Police spoke about the meth issue in Indiana.