• Last modified 2895 days ago (July 13, 2011)


Shielding inmates delayed

Privacy fence for old jail’s exercise yard near library would be a waste of money, sheriff says

Shortly after taking office in 2009, Marion County Sheriff Rob Craft pushed to have a fence constructed around an exercise yard for jail inmates.

State law requires inmates receive at least an hour of natural light each day. Because the jail didn’t have internal space that met the requirement, inmates were taken outdoors without a fence.

That spring, the county commission approved building a chain-link fence topped by strands of barbed wire. But for some people, that isn’t enough, Craft said recently. He said people have complained to him about inmates being able to see people walking by the jail.

Librarian Vickie Kraus said she hasn’t heard any complaints from patrons of Marion City Library, which is across the street from the jail.

“Not since they put the fence up,” Kraus said. “They (inmates) used to just be outside with nothing. That was uncomfortable.”

Craft said that if a new jail weren’t planned, he would support installing privacy slats in the fence. But with a new jail in the works, he thinks it would be a waste of money.

County Clerk Carol Maggard is getting prices for different products to block inmates’ line of sight. The materials aren’t expensive, and she said jail inmates might be able to install them.

The issue has been on hold because other issues have been more important for the commission, Maggard said.

Last modified July 13, 2011