LAGRANGE — The state of Indiana is proposing to have county jails house Class D felony offenders — with no additional pay to counties.

“They’re talking about taking all D felony cases into jails,” said LaGrange County Sheriff Terry Martin.

Martin quoted from a newsletter from Indiana Department of Correction Commissioner Bruce Lemmon that said the state would plan to send Class D felony inmates to county jails with no funding to be paid for their housing.

That would mean LaGrange County would deal with 13 offenders convicted of Class D felonies and no funding to pay for them, Martin said. The state currently either houses Class D offenders in prison or pays a jail for their incarceration.

All the area counties would be hit, Martin said.

According to the newsletter, Allen County would take the biggest impact, losing income for 331 inmates it would need to house. Noble County would loose funds for 63 inmates, DeKalb County 27, Steuben County 22 and Elkhart County 17.

The move, if implemented, would be a further blow to LaGrange County, which has already lost more than half its state funding for prisoners because the DOC isn’t sending as many inmates.

DeKalb County Sheriff Don Lauer received the same newsletter, and said a heavy inmate count at his county jail and Class D prisoners could be a burden.

“It would impact us just in overcrowding,” Lauer said. “You get a county like ours with an older jail and, potentially, it could be a nightmare.”
© 2020 KPC Media Group, Inc.