Shutdown cancels Lake County Jail inspection
BY CARRIE NAPOLEON Post-Tribune correspondent October 5, 2013 11:57PM
Updated: November 7, 2013 6:51AM
CROWN POINT — A scheduled October inspection of the Lake County Jail by the U.S. Department of Justice has been cancelled because of the federal government shutdown.
It would have been the sixth inspection of the jail stemming from a settlement of a 2007 civil lawsuit filed by inmates claiming inhumane conditions and inadequate health care. The DOJ outline 99 deficiencies in that settlement with which the jail needs to comply.
The jail was found to have made excellent gains in sanitation, food services, use-of-force training, suicide prevention and the medical team following the May inspection.
The only negative on the report was the lack of progress in mental health. At the time that was primarily because of to the lack of the creation of a mental health unit and integrated care setting outlined in the settlement.
That issue since has been corrected.
“We were ready,” Lake County Sheriff John Buncich said. He received notice at the beginning of the week that the DOJ inspectors would not be coming and no new inspection date will be set until the shutdown is resolved.
The cancellation provides a temporary reprieve from addressing one component of the original mandate: hiring 65 correctional additional correctional officers. Earlier this year the Lake County Council approved hiring the first 30 of the officers and found a permanent funding source for 2014 with the help of the new public safety income tax.
However, in order to balance the 2014 budget, officials removed the approximately $1.8 million in funding needed for the additional 35 officers with the expectation money may become available in May when the true property tax collection rate is determined and the full amount of the new income taxes is realized.