The Herald Bulletin

Overnight Update

Editorials

January 12, 2012

Editorial: Prison land sale should move ahead as planned

Few people care to live next to a prison. The fear, understandably, is that an inmate could escape and hide inside one of the homes, threatening its residents.

But that fear shouldn’t preclude a housing developer from building homes on land next to a correctional facility. If the developer can sell the homes, then more power to him. Perhaps the same is true of a farmer who finds he can till the land but he may not want to live on it. Or it might apply to the farmer who wants to reside on the acreage.

There’s tillable, empty farmland currently up for sale just north, east and south of the Pendleton Correctional Facility. The acreage includes three residential lots on County Road 750 West. The auction is set for 10 a.m. on Jan. 19 at the Garden Hotel in Anderson and will include nine tracts of land totaling 658 acres.

Among all the privileges being bandied about here, it is also within a resident’s power to petition against that sale. Retired prison guard Joe Riley, with support from state Rep. Scott Reske, D-Pendleton, started a petition against the sale.

Riley offers no recommendation for how the land should be used, other than it serves as a buffer — a wide open space easily monitored by prison guards — between the facility and nearby Maple Ridge Elementary School.

But there hasn’t been an escape from the prison in at least 10 years. The current security fences seem to be doing the trick. Fences don’t mean that escape couldn’t happen and lead to horrific consequences. It’s such fear, speculative and perhaps unwarranted, that’s fueling opposition.

But the land at Pendleton is not being used as it once was.

The Indiana Department of Administration decided to sell the land because it was no longer being farmed by correctional facility staff and inmates.

Previously, a grain, hay and firewood operation was under the arm of PEN Products. In 2011, PEN sold its Pendleton Correctional Facility farm equipment at public auction, attracting 121 bidders from Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. The lineup of equipment varied from grain drying equipment, farm tractors, grain and vegetable field production equipment and cattle gates. PEN was to maintain its hay enterprise, however.

The equipment is gone. The land is not being used. The state needs the money.

A sense of safety helps define a community. But safety shouldn’t be based on invalid paranoia. A community doesn’t always work if it waits for what-ifs.

Certainly, a developer may find it impossible to sell homes next to a double-security fence and guard towers. A farmer may decide it isn’t worth the time to till land next to a prison.

But the state should be allowed to sell the surplus land surrounding Pendleton and let the buyer not only decide but beware.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • OPN - HB0802 - hp photo with editorial - SU Editorial: Dan Patch Invitational brings national focus The Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park on Aug. 8 brings some of the best standardbreds into the state and brings the local track into a national spotlight. This is a great chance to support the effort to keep the city on the map and a big crowd helps add to the atmosphere.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0728 - World War 1 Local Bob Quinn 2 Editorial: WWI commemorated at 100th anniversary On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war against Germany. There was overwhelming support. Neutrality was no longer an option. The sinking by Germany of the British ocean liner, the Lusitania, further committed Americans to the cause. Madison County answered the call, too.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Editorial: Ring the bell! School is back in session Whether it’s the first first day of school or the last first day of high school, a multitude of unknown obstacles, achievements and milestones await. Enjoy every single one.

    July 30, 2014

  • Editorial: City overzealous in calling for Chamberlain probe In the aftermath of The Herald Bulletin's recent news report that City Councilman Rodney Chamberlain had been cleared of criminal wrongdoing in relation to basketball league funds, one question stands out.

    July 30, 2014

  • Editorial: Plan to attend reservoir session As discussion on the proposed Mounds Lake reservoir moves along, there have been strong voices concerning both sides of the project.

    July 29, 2014

  • You Said It: About graffiti, electric bill and Dr. Mares Each Monday, The Herald Bulletin publishes “You Said It,” a compilation of readers’ comments from www.theheraldbulletin.com coupled with responses by the newspaper’s editorial board.

    July 28, 2014

  • Editorial: Prison behavior reflects inappropriate culture If the Pendleton Correctional Facility is still rife with a sexualized climate, then it is time to clean the place up. It would be wise to reiterate and enforce the workplace ethics. And if one lesson is learned, it is to seriously consider staff complaints about inappropriate conduct.

    July 26, 2014

  • Editorial: Animal ordinance first step in fighting abuse, cruelty Laws like Alexandria’s new animal ordinances are a first step toward ending animal abuse and cruelty. Hundreds of scared and hurting animals are waiting for us to take the next one.

    July 25, 2014

  • Editorial: County needs preschool funding Five Indiana counties received great news this week from Gov. Mike Pence's office. Madison County was not one of them.

    July 25, 2014

  • Editorial: Celebrate students' progress but don't think work is done For too long now, there has not been a high enough value placed on education. There were always other options. The working world, however, has evolved, and so must this community’s attitudes about preparing our young people for the future.

    July 24, 2014

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

How many Dan Patch races have you attended?

None
1-2
3 or more
All 20
     View Results