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Boone County starts construction on the Justice Center expansion



Lebanon, Indiana – In 1992, when Boone County last constructed a new jail, there were around 35,000 people living there.

The county’s population has doubled in the last 30 years. Even while more people mean more crime and strain on the criminal justice system to keep the community secure, the jail’s capacity has not changed.

Authorities in Boone County began ground on a $60 million extension of the current jail and justice facility on Monday afternoon.

“What we’re building is really gonna change the lives of a lot of people and I’m really excited about that,” said Sheriff Mike Neilsen. “We’re really setting up Boone County for the future.”

In addition to 100 Community Correction beds for criminals on work release or those leaving prison, the recently renovated justice center will have 102 more jail beds.

”We’re gonna have a huge Community Correction facility here that’s gonna be a residential community corrections facility,” said Neilsen, “and that’s the exciting piece because once we do the programming in here, there will be continuity of care once they leave. We’ll put them into a step-down unit. We’ll teach them trades. We’ll teach them life skills and then we’ll move them over to community corrections residential facility.”

Other county criminal justice departments will have extra office space thanks to the expansion.

“We will be building a coroner’s office and a morgue where we can treat those who have lost their lives with the utmost respect and dignity while providing a space of the highest level of investigative work,” said County Commissioner Jeff Wolfe. ”As we designed this project, studies showed that this building could even be larger than what it is, but we feel like with the treatment facility that we’re gonna build that we’re going to be able to keep our population lower because of that, lower our recidivism rate.”

Sheriff Neilsen claimed that at the present jail, which is frequently over 80% full, he encounters such difficulty every day.

”If you’re looking at 70% of the people that have mental health and addiction issues inside our facility, we’ve gotta do a better job,” he said.

A 0.2% rise in income taxes will be used to pay for the expansion, which will cost an individual making $70,000 per year an additional $72 per year. By 2024, the building should be operational.

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