IndyBar President John Trimble and Justice Center Task Force Chair John Kautzman urge councilors to "move forward aggressively to construct the criminal justice facilities our city’s citizens require."
For more than twenty years, the Indianapolis Bar Association has advocated for a safe, efficient, dignified and secure Justice Center for our county. Our concerns are the result of the experiences of thousands of our members –and the clients we represent - in the current facilities. In the City County Building, prisoners walk “chain gang style” through the building, frequently in the presence of children. Felons ride the elevators with court staff and judges. Prisoners walk through court offices past sharp objects on their way to holding cells. Fights break out in corridors between families of defendants and victims. Lawyers consult with their clients through holding cell bars in front of other prisoners and in crowded hallways, making important life changing decisions.
Our Association has been actively engaged in discussions about location and design requirements of a proposed Justice Center, and has been honored to be recognized as a significant stakeholder. We understand our city leaders have differing views of the proper funding mechanism for a Justice Center, but we have heard no one claim that the current building is safe, efficient, or dignified. We recognize your concerns, including insufficient attention on mental health issues, and believe that all of the stakeholders need to be brought promptly to the table to face these challenges head on. In short, the urgent need for a new Jail and Justice Center is clear to nearly everyone.
The time to act is now, whether by making satisfactory modifications or contingencies to the current proposed P3 funding of the WMB design, or by choosing another funding stream and/or design. Whatever course of action is chosen requires immediate attention, and we urge our city leaders to move forward aggressively to construct the criminal justice facilities our city’s citizens require. We attach the remarks made by John Kautzman on behalf of our Association at the recent Rules Committee hearing. We hope you can take a few moments to read those remarks so you will better understand our views and the acute necessity for immediate productive action.
John C. Trimble, Indianapolis Bar Association President
Lewis Wagner LLP
John F. Kautzman, Justice Center Task Force Chair
Ruckelshaus Kautzman Blackwell Bemis & Hasbrook