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Published on Friday March 18, 2011 - 7:07 PM
 
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Marion County Sheriff Jason Myers has announced a change in the policy dealing with the cite & release of offenders brought to the Marion County Jail. The new policy, which is part of the Jail's Capacity Management Plan, was unanimously adopted by the Marion County Board of Commissioners. It will take effect on Monday, April 4, 2011.

As part of an on-going review, the Sheriff's office has been working to ensure efficient and effective operations of our jail by examining our current practices. The goal was to make sure that our resources and efforts are having the greatest impact on public safety.

The review revealed that the long standing practice of allowing cite and release offenders to be brought to the jail for processing has, over time, increased our staff's work load, while decreasing our overall criminal justice system's efficiency. We've seen a steady increase in the number of offenders who fail to appear for court, resulting in warrants being issued and cases remaining unresolved.

"Offenders who merely receive a citation, promising to appear, often fail to show up for their court hearing. This results in additional charges and more court appearances, but it also begins that revolving door process where accountability for their actions is lost" Sheriff Myers commented.

Jail Commander Sheila Lorance added, "From our research, we found that public safety is dramatically enhanced when an offender is booked and held in custody until they post bail or appear in court. It ensures court appearances and expedites the disposition of criminal cases, while adding more accountability to the system."

The Sheriff's Office collaborated with its public safety partners, to include the District Attorney's Office, Public Defender's Office, Marion County Circuit Court and local law enforcement agencies to ensure a smooth transition in April.

Commissioner Patti Milne, Public Safety Coordinating Council Chair, expressed her pleasure at seeing this plan move forward. She said, "This is a well thought out plan that provides added efficiency and accountability in the public safety system. This plan allows the jail commander the appropriate flexibility to run the jail more effectively to meet public needs."

Presiding Judge of the Marion County Circuit Court, Jamese L. Rhoades said, "I support Sheriff Myers in his effort to utilize the jail in a manner that maximizes public safety".

"We will monitor the change and make adjustments where necessary during the first 90-days, but I am confident that the residents of Marion County will benefit from this policy change." Sheriff Myers said.