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Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center Closing
Updated February 8, 2018 8:53 AM | Filed under: Crime
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Juvenile Referee John Plummer III
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Lawrence County Sheriff Mike Branham

(BROWNSTOWN) - The Jackson County commissioners voted 3-0 Tuesday night to close the nearly 20-year-old juvenile detention center at the end of March.

The facility will be closed to juveniles from other counties March 1, and then closed to Jackson County juveniles March 31.

The closure is designed to ease overcrowding at the jail by providing bed space for as many as 60 adult inmates. The jail has a capacity of 172, but 252 inmates were housed in the jail Tuesday night.

Lawrence County Juvenile Referee John Plummer III says the detention center closing will have a major impact for Lawrence County.

"It will certainly have a major impact in the Sheriff's department regarding transporting the kids to a detention center and then back to court," he says. " I believe that the next closest juvenile detention centers are located in Knox County and Johnson County, each of which is significantly further away from Lawrence County than is Jackson County."

Plummer says there will also now likely be a shortage of beds for housing juveniles that are sent to detention now that the Jackson County facility will be closing.

"However, I can assure the community that this in no way will put the Lawrence County community at risk," Plummer added. " The Lawrence Juvenile Court will adjust, be innovative, and if it is necessary to detain a child, the Court has access to resources to do so."

Lawrence County Sheriff Mike Branham, says the closure will cost the county.

"It will mean more time for transport officers and deputies on the road. Transporting juveniles to Johnson County or Vigo County Juvenile Detention Center," he added.

During an inspection in 2017, a state inspector recommended the Jackson County close the 28-bed juvenile center to ease chronic overcrowding at the jail.

Steve Redicker, director of the Juvenile Detention Center is concerned with what will happen to the current 14 employees at the detention center

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Carothers says he might be able to use the workers after jail inspectors recommended him hiring seven more jailers. He told the commissioners he will also need to hire staff to man the area of the detention centers when inmates move to that facility.

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