Preparing for the future: Huntington County
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The Huntington County TAB on 2/28/2023 by Joseph Slacian
It’s safe to say, Jami Fox knows of what she speaks. And it is for that reason that Huntington County Sheriff Chris Newton brought her on the department staff at the beginning of the year
“Old jail construction was meant for small term housing,” Newton said. “We weren’t meant to keep people for longer periods of time.”
The passage of House Bill 1006 a few years ago forced Huntington County, along with all many counties around the state, to take a close look at the use of their existing jail space. The bill changed the sentencing structure for those convicted of felonies.
Basically, the people who used to have drug charges who used to go to prison now stay more often in your local jail,” Newton said. “So when that happened, our jail population went up like everyone else’s. We started thinking jail population is going to increase and we know we’re going to have these people here for a longer period of time, especially those with substance abuse.
“When they go to prison, they have the opportunity to go to classes if they want to. We weren’t built for that. We were basically holding cells. We didn’t have classrooms.”
That started a conversation with Newton and the Huntington County Council and County Commissioners.