With the Marion County Jail packed to capacity, court officials freed Lamar Blount before his court date. About a month after he was released in early October, police allege, Blount and an accomplice shot and killed a man after an argument. Blount, 18, now is the fifth man who has faced murder charges after being released from Marion County Jail before their trials because of crowding, reports the Indianapolis Star. The four others have been convicted, and three of them have been sentenced.
Since 2001, more than 9,100 inmates — including nearly 2,000 this year — have been freed because the jails had no more room, according to the Marion County Justice Agency. “It’s playing Russian roulette with the lives of the people in Marion County, and that’s a game we ought not to be playing,” said Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi. Blount’s case is just the latest to draw attention to the long-simmering issue of jail crowding, which has put Marion County officials at odds for decades. Police blame judges for freeing potentially violent people. Judges blame the City-County Council for not spending enough to jail accused criminals before trial.