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Lawrence County To House Juveniles At Bartholomew County Youth Service Center
Updated March 7, 2018 6:51 AM
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(BEDFORD) - The Lawrence County Commissioners signed a contract Tuesday morning to house juvenile offenders at the Bartholomew County Youth Service Center.

The agreement came after county officials were notified of the closing of the Jackson County Youth Detention Center in Brownstown. Lawrence County has housed juveniles in the Jackson County facility for more than 20 years.

Lawrence County Assistant Chief Probation Officer Scott Wedgewood addressed the Commissioners explaining the contract.

"They (Jackson County) notified us at the beginning of the year the rate was going to go up from $100 a day to $120 a day," he explained. "Then, we received word in February they were closing the facility, and we had to have everyone out by March 1."

In 2017, the council budgeted $50,000 for juvenile detention costs. Then had to ask for an additional appropriating of $35,000 to get through the end of the year. Wedgewood explained the increase cost came after several incidents of school safety creating longer incarceration periods for juveniles.

In 2017, the county spent $83,800 to house juveniles and returned $1,200 back to the county's General Fund. For this calendar year, the council budgeted $65,000 for juvenile detention.

Wedgewood, along with Sheriff Mike Branham and Juvenile Judge John Plummer III, sat down and looked at all the county's options to house juveniles before deciding on the Bartholomew County Facility. Wedgewood reported that Johnson County charges $140 a day, Bartholomew County $135 and Knox County $152 a day. Bartholomew County Juvenile Detention Facility located in Columbus, offered the best deal and if the county reaches 90 bed days a month, the rate will be decreased to $125 a day.

In other business:

Lawrenceport Road will be closed at Bridge 67 beginning Wednesday, March 7th until further notice for bridge replacement. The now 96 foot bridge over Sugar Creek will be replaced with a 110 foot bridge at an estimated cost of half a million dollars.

Work on Bridge 78 on Pumphouse Road has been delayed because of flood water. Crews hope to resume work this week.

Highway crews continue to prepare county roads for spring paving as they are cutting brush and patching potholes.

Bridge crews are also addressing an issue on the Bridge 172 the Humpback Bridge on Slaughterhouse Road. The bridge was scheduled to be replaced in 2021, but now because of a large hole on the deck, crews will have to replace the bridge sooner.


Sheriff Mike Branham told the commissioners that the county is still facing overcrowding issues at the jail.

As of Tuesday morning, Sheriff Branham reported that there were 181 inmates housed at the jail, of those 43 were females, 16 were Level 6 felons, which 9 are being housed at the Knox County jail and there is one Department of Correction hold.

Repairs are being made at the jail.

The back door on the east side of the jail that enters the alley will be replaced at a cost of $1,500.

"The door is rusted out and we have repaired it numerous times, but now it is to the point where we need to replace it," Sheriff Branham added.

The elevator also stopped working once last week and again this weekend. Relays were replaced on Monday and the elevator is now working. The elevator is critical in getting meals to inmates.

"The kitchen is in the lower level of the jail and the inmates are housed in the upper levels," Sheriff Branham said.

Sheriff Branham shared that Coffee with Cops event in Huron was a success.

"We probably had our largest turn out," he added. "The top discussion topic was school security followed by drugs and jail problems."


Emergency Management Director Valerie Luchauer says there were only five incidents where vehicles had to be pulled from flood waters.

"People are pretty brazen these days," she added. "At one incident, an officer was on site with a wrecker pulling a vehicle out of the water when another vehicle drove right by them and entered the high water."

Luchauer requested the Commissioners look at passing a 911 addressing ordinance.

"I would like to see reflective house numbers posted on all homes," she added.

This weekend emergency crews had a hard time finding a home when responding to a medical run.

"They went by the house a couple of times before finding it," she added.

Commissioner Rodney Fish says residents can buy reflective house number signs from local volunteer fire department for a minimal fee.

"And if the resident is elderly or disabled they will also put up the sign," Luchauer added.

Luchauer has scheduled a National Weather Service Storm Spotter Training Sessions at Mitchell City Hall on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

Those who attend the session will learn how to better identify certain severe storm features such as funnel clouds, wall clouds, tornadoes, and various other features that can be reported to the National Weather Service or Emergency Management Agencies to help provide better warnings for their communities.

The training session is free and everyone is welcome to attend.

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