Edgar County Jail has plans to close its doors

Edgar County Jail is planning to close its doors according to the county’s board chairman Jeff Voigt.

Posted: Sep 18, 2019 6:10 PM

PARIS, Ill. (WTHI) - Edgar County Jail is planning to close its doors according to the county’s board chairman Jeff Voigt.

The county is just in the preliminary stages of this process of closing. Edgar County’s board and sheriff’s office are considering all options, but closing the jail seems to be the most responsible short term, and possibly long term, solution.

Voigt said a definite date to close the building is not yet set and multiple factors prompted the decision to take these steps. The jail facility is 127 years old and is in dire need of renovation. Officials say this would cost a significant amount of money which is not in Edgar County's budget. Voigt said they simply don't have access to those types of funds. The county knew this day would come and now leaders are having to deal with it. Voigt says it's very early in the process and a complicated issue.

"We're in the budget stages right now so we are adjusting budgets," he said, "We are handling it the best we can in a responsible way so we can move forward and guarantee safe transportation and safe housing for the inmates."

Edgar County's solution is to move inmates elsewhere. Although it is very early in the process, the county has begun those preliminary discussions with nearby jails.

The jail houses just under 40 inmates right now and Voigt says this is a significant number for the county. The Edgar County Sheriff and a board member have been going out and meeting with other sheriffs in nearby locations to see who can do what and for how much.

There is a cost for both transportations of the inmates and for housing them in other locations. Voigt stressed that the county is committed to doing this in a responsible manner. 

"We realize there are issues and we need to start moving prisoners when it's practical," he said, "The only way this is going to be successful and the least amount of problems is to all work together."

Voigt says the county is just starting the initial phases of this process and more updates will come in the coming days and weeks regarding where exactly these inmates will go and how much it will cost. 

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