Madison County delays women's work release over money

September 22, 2013

A lack of funding has forced Madison County officials to delay plans for a work-release program for female inmates.

The county had hoped to have a program in place by this fall, but it hasn't been told yet whether it will receive a grant it applied for and doesn't have the money to start without it.

Ann Roberts, executive director of the Community Justice Center, said the center had expected to hear back by July 1 on its application for a $390,000 Community Correction Grant administered through the Indiana Department of Correction.

"We are on hold until we find funding," she told The Herald Bulletin.

Department of Correction spokesman Doug Garrison said the department is still reviewing the request.

Officials now hope to implement a work-release program for women in 2014.

The women's work-release program was first proposed as part of a plan to relieve crowding at the Madison County Jail earlier this year. It would be available to nonviolent female offenders.

A similar program for men has been available for years.

The county tried to create women's work-release programs in the late 1990s and again in the early 2000s, but there weren't enough qualifying female offenders to support the program.

The number of female inmates has been rising, however, and Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings endorsed the program this summer.

Madison County officials have been looking into acquiring property for a proposed women's center that would provide alternative sentencing for non-violent offenders.

County Administrator Dan Dykes said officials have moved forward with a funding request for a 24-bed center for the County Council to consider when it takes up budget deliberations Sept. 30.

The county is seeking nearly $400,000 to operate the center, and $44,500 in one-time equipment costs.

If the county receives the state grant, it would reduce the amount of local money needed for the project.

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