SCOTT COUNTY, Ind. (WDRB) -- When Jerry Goodin became Scott County sheriff, he announced a no-tolerance policy for drug dealers in Scott County.
And almost six months later, he said his plan is working.
“You either leave town, you stop dealing drugs, or you’re going to jail,” Goodin said.
The department is serious about the strategy. Goodin said deputies have arrested more than 200 people since Jan. 1. Not all of those are drug-related arrests, but Goodin said those are on the rise. Each week, the department is posting mugshots on its Facebook page with arrest descriptions for possession and distribution.
Goodin said it’s making an impact, because he’s hearing it’s harder and harder now to find drugs in Scott County.
“The community has had enough, and we’re coming after them,” Goodin said. “And by golly, we’re making a difference.”
And the deputies’ work does not stop at the county line.
“We’ve started chasing drugs out of our county now,” Goodin said. “Just recently, we assisted LMPD narcotics detectives in busting a couple people down there that we felt like were sending drugs up our way.”
While Goodin has no sympathy for the dealers, it’s a different story for the addicts arrested. He said addicts would express to jail staff that it felt like nobody really cared for them or gave them a chance. So Goodin decided it was time to provide more opportunities for inmates to change their lives around.
The jail now offers six different programs for inmates to participate in that offer education, work and volunteer opportunities. Inmates can learn skills like welding, food preparation, landscaping and more. They can also earn certificates in some of the programs, which could help them land jobs once they’re released.
The programs have been in place for less than two months, so it’s not clear yet how they could impact recidivism rates. But Douglas Herald, director of operations for the jail, said the programs are creating a better atmosphere in the jail.
“They’re in better spirits,” Herald said. “Because now, they feel like they have purpose. It’s making them feel like they have a purpose once they get out.”
He said the programs also provide incentive for positive inmate behavior. It was a team effort with the prosecutors, judges and defense attorneys to make the programs available. And Goodin said he hopes to offer more programs in the future.
“We’re actually putting reform back into reformatory,” he said.
Goodin said many of the recent drug arrests are a result of tips the community has provided to the department. If you would like to report illegal activity or something suspicious, you can call (812)-752-8400, or you can send the department a Facebook message. You can remain anonymous.
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