Friday, April 9, 2010

Why put a Parolee Center in a Residential Neighborhood?

By Jan Fiscus, a concerned neighborhood resident

During the winter, Indiana Department of Corrections quietly moved the Women's Detainee Center out of 512 Minnesota. Just as quietly, they moved in the Parolee Center where 2,900 parolees will report to weekly. The Women's Detainee Center housed women and did not significantly contribute to the neighborhood's foot traffic or exposed increased risks for Bates-Hendricks children. Now that the Parolee Center #3 was moved into 512 Minnesota, there is increased pedestrian and vehicular traffic that contributes to safety concerns for the children. IPS Garfield Phoenix Elementary School #31 is within 650 feet of this Parolee Center. Neighborhood children will be walking home to/from school and playing in the same areas as ex-offenders waiting for buses. Is this the influence that we want in any residential neighborhood? Residents of Southeast support 'second chances' for ex-offenders, but do not believe that densely populated residential neighborhoods are the place for rehabilitation.
Why would Indiana Department of Corrections put our children's safety at risk with this influence? It generally all boils down to money and IDOC owns the building at 512 Minnesota. Residents believe that IDOC is a government agency that needs to relocate out of any residential neighborhood, not just ours. Prior to Bates-Hendricks neighborhood, IDOC was pressured to leave another working class neighborhood. Now, residents want them to leave all residential neighborhoods. There are many vacant industrial offices downtown or in non-residential neighborhoods that would be better options.

To learn more come to the next meeting at Immanuel Church of Christ, corner of Morris and East Street, on April 12th 6:30-7:30 pm. This will be our second gathering concerning the Parolee Center and we encourage all to join us whether you are a Bates-Hendricks neighbor, or just someone that cares about children's safety.

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