ANDERSON, Ind. —
Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said he estimates it’s at least tens of thousands of dollars a year, depending on how many similar cases come out of Madison County DOC facilities. It might seem like a rare occasion, but the incidents add up.
“It’s a lot of money, and it’s not fair,” Cummings said. “It’s a lot more than you think, and that cost would be zero if the prisons weren’t here.”
Madison County has four detention centers: the jail in Anderson, the Pendleton Correctional Facility, medium-security Pendleton Correctional Industrial Facility and a maximum-security juvenile center in Pendleton. The latter three have prisoners from all around the state, and crime in the maximum-security prison is rampant. In 2013, five cases in PCF have been referred to state police, and charges are still pending. That number seems to be down from 2012, when 13 cases were referred. The number was 29 in 2011.
“There are usually about three or four murders a year, usually about the same number as the rest of the county. There are riots, gang activity, contraband. Lots of crime,” Cummings said. “So that adds up.”
The state does cover some expenses in such cases. Judges are paid by the state, as are prosecuting attorneys. So what’s the reason for changing policy on public defenders and court costs now? Carroll believes it’s money.
“It’s a function of the budget,” Carroll said. “Everyone is trying to save money now. The money to cover these costs comes out of the DOC budget, and it’s getting more and more costly to house and remediate inmates. So they’re trying to cut costs any way they can.”
Indiana state Sen. Tim Lanane, Senate minority leader, said he agrees that the issue seems unfair if it continues to be interpreted that way. Lanane said he has chaired budget committees, so he’s aware of the financial straits all agencies seem to be in.