Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

January 24, 2014

County moving toward work release center

Former county jail site being studied.

Howard County’s former jail is one step closer to becoming a work release center.

The Howard County Board of Commissioners approved a contract between its community corrections department and engineering firm DLZ to design a floor plan for a work release center using the former Howard County jail site, which has been vacant for about four years. The site was occupied by the Kokomo Academy juvenile care and detention facility from 1996 to 2010.

The $5,000 contract is being paid for by the community corrections department. If reopening the facility is feasible, Howard County Director of Adult Community Corrections Ray Tetrault estimated the program could be up and running as early as January 2015.

DLZ should have a floor plan ready for the facility within a couple of months.

The former jail, which could house up to 120 beds, seems like it could be a good option for a work release program, Tetrault said.

“I’m hopeful that we can use that building,” he said. “It would be very cost effective for the citizens of Howard County, because it wouldn’t cost us much to have it up and running.

“The building is in fairly decent shape,” he added. “There are a few cosmetic things and the heating and air conditioning isn’t up to today’s standards. I think the facility can be used, though.”

After Cedarbridge Treatment Centers closed the juvenile care and detention facility, ownership reverted back to Howard County.

The facility would house people who have been convicted of “lower risk” crimes, Tetrault said, in three separate pods in the two-floor facility, fitting up to 40 beds in each area. Forty of the beds would be reserved for women.

The Indiana Department of Corrections indicated it would pay Howard County $1,000 a day to house up to 40 inmates in a work release center.

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