The headliner on Monday’s agenda for Monroe County’s community justice response committee (CJRC) meeting was Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana.
Falk is the attorney who filed a lawsuit against the county in 2008, which is still subject to a “private” settlement agreement—so-called only because it’s not a court order. The agreement is not confidential.
Falk’s remarks countered the calls that the committee has heard from several angles, including the group Care Not Cages, against the construction of a new jail.
Falk was blunt: “Look, you need a new jail. Everyone knows that.” He continued, “Back in 2008, when I filed the lawsuit, everyone knew that the jail then was grossly overcrowded.” Monroe County’s jail is not grossly overcrowded now, he said, “thanks to the work of the judges and everyone else in the system.”
Falk also noted that the work of two consultants, released to the county government more than 18 months ago, had described Monroe County’s jail as having “far exceeded its structural and functional life cycle.”
But Falk’s remarks weren’t really a surprise.
Less expected was the display of some friction between new Monroe County sheriff Ruben Marté and county commissioners, which had up to now remained at least partly under the surface. The contentious character of their interactions was in plain view at Monday’s CJRC meeting. Continue reading “Monroe County sheriff, commissioners square off at committee meeting, ACLU lawyer says: “Look, you need a new jail. Everyone knows that.””