Crouch tours county jail, applauds JCAP program

Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch on Friday toured the Kosciusko County Jail and met with inmates in the Jail's chemical addiction program. Also pictured (top left) is Jail Commander Kevin Gelbaugh. News Now Warsaw Photo by Dan Spalding.
By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw

WARSAW — Indiana’s gubernatorial campaign trail passed through Kosciusko County’s jail on Friday as one of six candidates took time to applaud a program designed to assist inmates struggling with chemical addiction.

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch toured the jail with Sheriff Jim Smith who pointed out the role of JCAP (Jail Chemical Addiction Program) while also talking about the county’s new program— the community recovery program — that will start soon in an effort to help inmates prepare for re-entering society after their release.

Crouch is one of six Republicans running for governor to replace Gv. Eric Holbomb who is term-limited.

She visited with five women currently in the program as they worked on one of their class projects in the jail’s day room.

She learned that all five women are mothers and have all been drug-free for varying lengths of time.

The five women represent the seventeenth group in the program’s history. They are in their third week in what will be a four-month program.

Crouch has been a strong advocate for mental health and substance abuse issues.

She shared with the inmates that she has a daughter who has struggled with addiction issues. She encouraged them to continue on a path toward sobriety as they look forward to their release.

“Our jails are our largest mental health facilities in the state and in many Indiana counties, and so it’s encouraging that we are changing our approach to treating people,” she said after the tour.

“I think it’s encouraging and its delivering good results because the days of warehousing people are over,” she said.

Smith told Crouch that the new community recovery program is now moving forward with the hiring of the resource navigator. The program will rely heavily on grant money  that will be used to pay for services by numerous existing agencies in the county.

Earlier in the day, Crouch stopped in Peru for the unveiling of a new Safe Haven Baby Box, which allows mothers of newborns a safe place to drop off and surrender their babies without facing any criminal consequences.

According to the baby box website, there are now more than 90 baby boxes in Indiana, including two in Kosciusko County.

Babies who are surrendered are quickly moved into adoption programs.

Mothers, Crouch said, “Can do it without the shame, without the blame and with the anonymity of knowing that she has made a sacrifice that will benefit other families,” Crouch said.

Earlier in the week, Crouch won the endorsement of Cathie Humbarger, who has had leadership roles with Allen County Right to Life, Right to Life Northeast Indiana and Indiana Right to Life.

“She’s been a champion for the most vulnerable Hoosiers, the unborn, for years and to have her endorsement is very significant to me, personally, because I think she’s just an incredible individual,” Crouch said.

Other gubernatorial candidates include Curtis Hill, Brad Chambers, Eric Doden, Jamie Reitenour and US Sen. Mike Braun.

Primary Election Day is May 7.

Kosciusko County Sheriff Jim Smith talks with Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch Friday during a tour of the jail. News Now Warsaw Photo by Dan Spalding.