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Planning Council Likes Court Recommendations; Now Needs Money

September 21, 2004
Reported By Dennis Bergendorf

The Marion County Criminal Justice Planning Council is poring over the details of the 10-year plan recommended by a consultant, but members say they may make changes.

The plan concludes that the county’s court system is under-funded and outdated. It recommends more, higher paid court workers and construction of a new county courthouse.

Council members say they like the ideas, but they’re not sure where the money might be found to implement them.

Sheriff Frank Anderson told the group that this much is obvious – the county must spend more money on the courts.

“Public safety has been so underfunded in Marion County,” he says. "When I was elected, I couldn’t believe the lack of attention that it’s gotten.”

His comments were echoed by Judge Cale Bradford, who says spending more money on the courts is cost effective because it would solve other problems, including overcrowding at the county jail.

“It will cost you less money to properly man the court system than to build a new jail,” he says. “It’s not judges that are letting people out of jail early it’s the funders who don’t properly fund the criminal justice system.”

The planning council says it will begin to digest the plan next month, to see which recommendations – the ones that don’t cost a lot of money – could be implemented right away.