Neighbors continue to oppose plan for new Allen County jail

Published: May. 31, 2023 at 10:00 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Frustration could be heard and seen Wednesday as neighbors held a demonstration outside the Allen County courthouse.

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The protest stems from concerns about the plan for the new Allen County jail.

“This is a project that’s going to affect generations to come, and we really need to have more dialogue,” Karen Staton said.

Karen Staton was one of those voicing concerns.

She says some of the larger issues surround the lack of transparency from the county and the potential 0.2% tax increase to cover the cost.

But her biggest issue is not having her voice heard.

“This is 2023, it’s time now for us to start being inclusive and involving the people who are actually having to have to pay the bill be a part of what it is we’re paying for,” Staton said.

The demonstration was held in collaboration with two groups: the Help Not Handcuffs Coalition and Allen County Residents Against the Jail (ACRAJ).

They say, even if the jail is built, it’s never too late to advocate for the best solution.

“It’s not too late when the bulldozers are in the site,” Reverend Timothy Murphy, a member of Help Not Handcuffs, said. “It’s not too late when the foundations being poured. It’s never too late. As long as there are people in Allen County who believe that there’s a better way to have public safety in our county, it’s never too late.”

21Alive reached out to the Allen County Commissioners office for comment and they argue they have been transparent throughout the entire process.

They also add that no elected official plans to increase taxes, but that this project couldn’t be paid for with the current budget.

As for what’s next, a federal hearing will take place June 2, where a judge is set to decide whether the county’s current plan is an acceptable fix for its overcrowding issue.