CLAY COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) -- Many counties in the Wabash Valley are dealing with overcrowded and outdated jails. Clay County is one of the latest to have expansion plans. Clay County is planning to add more space to the current jail.
The new addition will add more than 200 extra beds.
Josh Clarke is the Chief Deputy Sheriff for Clay County.
He said when the current jail opened 15 years ago they held roughly 70 inmates. Now, that number is more than 100.
Clarke told News 10 if the number of inmates keeps increasing they'll be over their capacity limit.
He said the new addition will ensure they won't reach that limit.
The Clay County Jail is an immigration and customs enforcement holding site. Clarke said the addition will be primarily used to hold ICE detainees.
Right now, Clarke told News 10 the Clay County Sheriff's Office has a contract with the US Marshalls Office. The contract allows the Clay County Jail to house federal inmates, including those from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.
Clarke said, "So we currently have anywhere from 60 to 90 ICE detainees that we hold in our facility. So, by completing this addition we are going to increase those numbers of ICE detainees substantially."
Clarke said the ICE inmates will take up a majority of the expansion.
He said the ICE inmates they hold are people from other countries who commit crimes.
Clarke added that the jail is only a holding facility for ICE inmates as they go through the judicial process.
He said, "We are the only facility that has a long-term holding in the state of Indiana. There are some short-term facilities that hold ICE but we are the long-term facility. And again we are looking to grow for them and for our purposes."
Clarke said the expansion will also give the jail new tools.
He said, "As things evolve and medical needs grow that's something this new facility will have. It will have more resources for the medical assets."
Clarke told us that right now the Clay County Sheriff's Department is in the beginning stages of planning.
Clarke said he hopes that later this year they will be able to break ground.