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The Versailles Republican

April 16, 2015 • Headlines

A jazz dance to Etta James “Tell Mama” will be part of the recital on May 3. Pictured right are the S.E. Indiana Dance, Inc. dancers front row, left: Maggie Geis, Nate Geis, Elizabeth Miller; back row, left, Samantha Jo Mathews, Romane Bonnier, Cortney Widener and Anna Sin.
The Milan High School band members gather around the cart they raised funds for which was donated to the local JayC Food Store. Read the entire article about Carolines Cart in The Versailles Republican, section B front page.
Dr. Brian Albers and medical aesthetician Robin Hartman at the Margaret Mary Health Physicians Office.
Tom Tepe Autocenter
Tom Tepe Autocenter
Friendship State BankKing's Daughters' HealthWhitewater Motor Company Inc.
Ripley Publishing Company IncRipley Publishing Company, Inc.
Public meeting about new farmer's market

There will be a public meeting regarding Versailles new Farmer’s Market on April 30 at 6 p.m. at the town hall.

Jail: It’s not The Ritz!

Mary Mattingly

“You never think about the jail until you are in it,” said Bob Curl, the Ripley County jail administrator, and he is probably right. Fortunately, most of the 28,000 people in the county will never step foot in our jail on Monroe Street. “Most are repeat offenders. A small portion of the population are committing the crimes in any given county,” Bill Wilson with the Indiana Sheriff’s Association commented.
Randy Thieman


Pictured left, Randy Thieman was one of three officers on shift monitoring the cameras at the jail.

For those who do, whether it’s to visit someone, punishment for a crime, or awaiting a trial, it can be an eye-opening experience. Concrete walls and bare floors, heavy locked doors, metal attached furniture, and cameras in every corner, do not create a comforting atmosphere, nor is it meant to. If anything, jail itself is made to be a deterrent to crime. Yet if someone is sentenced to incarceration they can expect certain treatment and rights, according to state regulations.

Ripley Publishing toured the local jail recently, and spoke with not just the jail administrator, but a few inmates as well. We learned about the new changes implemented by new Sheriff Jeff Cumberworth. When asked what they miss most, four women who shared a cell, all replied unanimously, “My kids.” One who was in for drug trafficking and said she missed touching and hugging her children. She can only see and talk to them when in the county jail, which is different than a state prison where contact is permissable. One young inmate said he missed “work and a regular paycheck.” His boss had promised to save his contracting job for him when he got out. Several prefer to work in the jail, be it the laundry room or kitchen, to occupy their time and mind. Not all are allowed to, and it is a privilege. “I just want to do something. Otherwise, I’m just staring at these four walls,” one inmate said. Many of the inmates play cards all day, perhaps poker, spades or euchre. They can watch TV certain hours of the days, but basically have to stand for the most part as there are no recliners or couches. “It’s the little things you take for granted, like walking to the refrigerator and getting what you want. Or to walk outdoors,” one inmate said. He was counting the days until he was released in early May. He has learned his lesson and did not ever plan on returning.

According to the state requirements, the jail must provide safe and humane shelter, keep inmates from harm from themselves and others.

About the jail
• Ripley County Jail was expanded in 2003 from 16 beds to 99. Four cells for four women each are housed in the older section; for men, 10 segregated cells with two to a cell, two 24 person cells, one 16 man cell. Cells have a mattress with linens, a sink and commode, a shower and television.

• The “medical” cell is padded and has a restraint chair for inmates out of control, or who may harm themselves.

• Recreation/exercise is one hour a day, inside or out, depending on weather. There is a large gym-like apparatus inside a jail room for exercise. A razor wired fence is in place outdoors for the rec area for security.

Bev Miller and Sheriff Jeff Cumberworth


Pictured right, Cook Beverly Miller likes the new food service Sheriff Jeff Cumberworth contracted.

• Three meals a day, totaling 2000 calories a day, eaten in the cell.

• Commissary available.

• Allowed visitation Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, through a glass window with a phone, and no personal contact.

• Part-time nurse and doctor available every Wednesday, and on call 24/7. Request forms available to inmates.

• Sheets, uniforms, towels and personal clothing are washed once a week.

• Shake downs or jail inspections of cells are conducted on a weekly basis.

• 24 hour camera monitoring by three staff members per shift.

• Support classes offered: addiction support groups, parenting classes, Almond Tree Biblical group, fatherhood engagement, Thinking for a Change, substance counseling and faith based programs weekly.

• Work release and home incarceration allowed for eligible prisoners.

Most of the inmates in the county jail are in for drug or alcohol violations, and probation offenses. The four women spoken to, all doing time for drug offenses, unanimously had this piece of advice: “Don’t do drugs!” Be careful who you associate with, they added.

New sheriff guilty of making jail improvements

Mary Mattingly

Editor’s note: First in a two-part series.

There’s a new sheriff in town. Jeff Cumberworth has been in office for a full three months since being elected in November and sworn in Dec. 31. He is the county’s chief law enforcement officer, and he is in charge of not just the 11 road deputies but also the jail staffed with 14 jail officers. It’s the jail he’s been focused on of late for a number of reasons. “The jail is the county’s biggest liability,” Cumberworth said. The jail could see an influx of prisoners because of the criminal code reform passed last year which goes into effect July 1. This code means tougher, longer sentences on violent offenders, but lighter on those with lesser offenses. County jails would house those convicted criminals with a 365 day sentence, which is something the state used to handle." Cumberworth explains, “Now we keep those sentenced to 91 days or under. As of July 1, it is a Level 6 felony or a 365 day sentence, they stay at our jail. That’s a big difference in the number of prisoners.” The funding from the state is not clear yet either.

Partly because he is new to the position, Cumberworth is getting his “house” in order. Coming from a state trooper background, he didn’t give much thought to jails. “As a state trooper or even a deputy, we’d just drop off the prisoner. We didn’t really think about what happens after that,” he said. It’s in his hands now, and he’s trying to ensure the transaction is safe and the housing cost efficient for the county, and ultimately, the taxpayers. He talked recently with Ripley Publishing about the jail, who fills the 99 beds, some changes he’s instituted this first quarter, and preparations for the rest of the year.

To read the entire article pick up a copy of The Versailles Republican at your local newsstand. Click here to find out where to buy the newspapers. Call 812-689-6364 to subscribe or subscribe online today. Ask about the e-Edition!

Pick up this week's edition of The Versailles Republican for the stories below and more local news. Subscribe by clicking the subscribe link or call 812-689-6364.

• Cosmetic surgery: It's not just for the rich and famous (front page)
• Hoosier Hills discusses hard water at meeting (front page)
• How changes in Medicare could affect you (page 4)
• Cart makes shopping better for special needs people (section B, front page)
• On The Record from the Ripley County Courthouse (section B, page 2)
• New members inducted into Ripley County Hall of Fame (section B, page 3)
• Regional Wrap-Up: Woman sentenced for murder sues fire investigators (section B, page 4)
• Osgood Legion Easter Egg Hunt winners (page 2)
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