Mental health treatment, overcrowding and staffing issues continue to be major problems inside Indiana jails. Sheriff Dave Wedding is working with a bi-partisan group of sheriffs from southwestern Indiana who are committed to addressing the needs of mentally ill pre-trial detainees and convicted offenders currently housed in our local jails.
On Thursday morning Governor Eric Holcomb and his staff met with the sheriffs to discuss these issues. Mr. Joe Elsener, who is the Governor’s director of intergovernmental affairs, spent much of Thursday morning discussing the ramifications of House Bill 1006 and criminal justice funding issues with the sheriffs. The sheriffs requested additional state funding for the housing of sentenced offenders in local jails.
Representative Ryan Hatfield met with the sheriffs to discuss crime trends in their respective counties. Later in the day, the sheriffs met with Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch. Ms. Crouch is an Evansville native and Mater Dei High School graduate. In her former role as State Auditor and now as second in command of the State, Ms. Crouch continues to be accessible and ever willing to lend an ear to local sheriffs.
The sheriffs also spoke to Senator Vaneta Becker, who is an Evansville native now representing portions of both Vanderburgh and Warrick counties in the Indiana Senate. Ms. Becker currently serves as the ranking member of the standing committee on Commerce, Public Policy and Interstate Cooperation.
In the afternoon the sheriffs met with Attorney General Curtis Hill and his senior adviser, Ms. Kelly Croben. Mr. Hill was briefed on drug abuse issues (such as the explosion of opioid overdoses) and violent crime trends. Topics such as inmate drug addiction and dependency were also discussed.
Sheriff Dave Wedding explained, “Efforts to reduce bonds, using electronic home detention and recidivism reduction programs will only get us so far in reducing our jail population. The community rightly expects our office to safely house violent offenders, serial burglars and sex offenders who have been arrested and are awaiting trial. Now the state requires us to house low level felons who have a year or less time to serve.” Sheriff Wedding added, “In order to meet these requirements, I will continue to advocate for additional state funding to be made available for the supervision and care of our local inmates.”
Sheriffs meet with governor’s representatives to discuss House Bill 1006. Pictured above (left to right): Sheriff Mike Morris (Left), Sheriff Dave Wedding, Sheriff Jeremy Britton, Mr. Joe Elsener
Sheriffs meet with Lieutenant Governor Susan Crouch. Pictured above (left to right): Sheriff Jerry Harbstreit, Sheriff Mike Morris, Sheriff Dave Wedding, Lt. Governor Susan Crouch, Sheriff Jeremy Britton, Attorney Craig McKee
Sheriffs meet with Sentor Vaneta Becker. Pictured above (left to right): Sheriff Jerry Harbstreit, Sheriff Jeremy Britton, Senator Vaneta Becker, Sheriff Dave Wedding, Sheriff Mike Morris
Sheriffs meet with the Attorney General Curtis Hill. Pictured above (left to right): Sheriff Jeremy Britton, Sheriff Jerry Harbstreit, Attorney General Curtis Hill, Sheriff Dave Wedding, Sheriff Mike Morris.