Hogsett: ‘It only makes sense’ for prosecutor’s office to move to new justice campus

The $570 million Community Justice Campus—the centerpiece of Mayor Joe Hogsett’s criminal justice reform campaign—might be missing the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, IBJ first reported earlier Monday.

Prosecutor Ryan Mears attributed his hesitation to move from downtown to the CJC largely to operating costs. But the uncertainty puts a dent in the concept of the campus being a one-stop shop for most things involving local law enforcement and criminal justice.

“Clearly, I would prefer the prosecutor’s office—I think it only makes sense for the prosecutor’s office to be physically located on the Community Justice Campus,” Hogsett said at a media briefing Tuesday morning before asking Controller Ken Clark to provide an update on the situation.

“Of course, we want the prosecutor’s office on the campus,” Clark said. “We want all of the entities working within the criminal justice apparatus to be on the campus.”

Clark said the Hogsett administration had made “commitments” to ensure the prosecutor’s office felt “comfortable that [its] budget is protected.”

Leasing a space at a proposed, privately owned office building on the CJC would mean a jump in expenses for the office and put parking availability in question, Mears told IBJ. That’s in addition to the negotiations required to get out of a 16-year downtown lease then-Prosecutor Terry Curry signed in 2017.

Other entities like the Marion County Public Defender Agency have signed leases for their new spaces on the campus, located at the former Citizens Energy coke plant site—about three miles southeast of downtown, in the Twin Aire neighborhood. Still more, like the Marion County Clerk’s Office, will use the campus as an outpost.

The Clerk’s Office plans to send just 24 of its 110 employees to the campus, said Patty Morris, finance manager for the office, with eight of those working nights and weekends. She noted that the Clerk’s Office has no lease to sign, since it will inhabit a large space up front, but said, “We didn’t really see a need for the whole staff to be out there.”

Some of the money from the first phase of Hogsett’s Circle City Forward initiative will help other agencies with the move, according to Clark. The coroner’s facility got $16 million in the funding package, announced in February, while another $30 million will go to a new forensics crime lab on the campus. Local legislation authorizing the projects and several others is on its way through the City-County Council after formal introduction this month.

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14 thoughts on “Hogsett: ‘It only makes sense’ for prosecutor’s office to move to new justice campus

  1. Who cares where the prosecutor’s office is? Hogsett needs to figure out how people are going to get there. Run a high frequency shuttle from the transit center.

  2. Hey Joe… Maybe you should have thought about all of these leases before you had all of those photo-ops in front of the proposed Justice Center. Well, at least those pictures reminded your constituents that you were alive.

    1. Former prosecutor Terry Curry (RIP) signed the current long term lease in 2017 with full knowledge of the plan for a new justice complex, planning for which began under the administration of Mayor Greg Ballard. This is nothing but a power play by the Prosecutor. Look at the site – there will be plenty of parking. And, there’s no mention by Mears about what it costs for his employees to park downtown, which is neither free or cheap. And, what about the costs and lost efficiencies of deputy prosecutors and support staff shuttling back and forth? There’s a reason the Prosecutor’s Office is located near the courthouse.

  3. Now they have to rent space? You mean the Justice Center is private ? Also, won’t this leave a lot of empty downtown space where people worked, further hurting retail and restaurant business?

    1. The new jail and courthouse were definitely needed. However, the lawyers appearing in court or visiting clients in custody at the new jail do not have to be located on the justice campus. In fact, lawyers would prefer to be located downtown for the many reasons including: business networking, restaurants, bars and events. Moving hundreds of lawyers and the support/admin staff out of downtown (on top of the court and jail staff already leaving) is going to hurt downtown businesses.

    2. City and County agencies pay rent in the City-County Building to the Marion County Building Authority as well. That’s how it’s structured.

    1. Zero, one or two — as understood by those [of us] who actually use transit. If one can walk to Routes 26 or 55, no transfer is needed. All other Routes except Toute 87 require one transfer, either at the downtown transit center or where the boarding route first crosses Route 26 or 55. Those who first board Route 87 must transfer to an east-west route then again transfer to Route 26 (Keystone) or Route 55 (English).

  4. taxpayers should be mindful of Hogsett wasting city resources by vacating leased premises early and then adding operating costs funded by taxpayers on these offices. there are better ways to achieve fiscal responsibility and put these offices in locations where they can be effective.

  5. Because the Mayor takes a swarn oath to protect the people (AKA and Justice for All), shouldn’t our top defender have HIS office in the new Justice Center?

  6. How soon all of the haters forget that former Mayor Ballard started this process and wanted to put the new center on the site of the former GM Stamping Plant.

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