Vigo County leaders talk jail conditions in federal court

Vigo County officials told a judge that significant progress has been made to improve jail conditions.

Posted: Nov 13, 2018 3:33 PM
Updated: Nov 13, 2018 6:36 PM

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTHI) - An attorney representing inmates who are suing Vigo County has one concern following a hearing in federal court on Tuesday afternoon.

Vigo County officials told a judge that significant progress has been made to improve jail conditions.

That same judge ordered Vigo County to make immediate improvements after finding that jail conditions are unconstitutional.

Attorneys for Vigo County told Judge Jane Magnus Stinson the process is underway to hire 27 new jailers.

The county council authorized those positions last month.

That satisfies part of an order handed down by the judge in September.

Judge Stinson also wants to see progress on building a new jail.

The judge said she is pleased with what's been done so far.

The International Paper location has had its share of opposition in the court of public opinion.

But, it will ultimately be up to the Terre Haute City Council to decide if the request is granted.

The Indiana Civil Liberties Union joined the case on the inmates' behalf in April.

News 10 asked the ACLU if the rezoning request is a concern.

"I am obviously concerned that there are matters outside of the defendant's hands at this point for the one piece of property. But I've also been informed there are other pieces of property if this falls through, but I'm hoping it does not since this seems to be the most appropriate for the jail," Kenneth Falk from the ACLU said.

Falk did not elaborate what those other properties are.

We do know the city council could make a decision on the request on December 6th.

Sheriff Greg Ewing told us the county is working quickly to hire new jailers.

He said the additional jail staff will fully staff the jail for the first time in his 27-year career...a career that ends in just six weeks.

Ewing leaves office at the end of the year, but he feels the jailer hiring process will transition smoothly into sheriff-elect John Plasse's administration.

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