New house bill could pump the brakes on jail construction

A federal mandate is pushing leaders to come up with a solution to jail overcrowding.

Posted: Jan 18, 2018 5:12 PM
Updated: Jan 18, 2018 6:34 PM

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - A federal mandate is pushing leaders to come up with a solution to jail overcrowding.

But new legislation could influence those leaders on what they decide to do.

The problem the Vigo County Jail faces is too many inmates.

They're housed in what many call a substandard facility.

The quick answer is to build a new jail that could fit the nearly 300 inmates.

But a bill would put the brakes on that, at least temporarily.

It is House Bill 1263.

Basically, it says a county cannot begin construction on a new jail unless the fiscal body first prepares a feasibility study.

That study would need to list possible alternatives to the construction.

Also, they'd have to hold a public hearing on that study.

Vigo County is in the process of finding a group to do an assessment.

One county councilman we spoke with says this is good news.

If passed, it ensures the county would have to make sure taxpayers are heard.

"It seems like there are a lot of counties out there that are trying to build jails, but they're just doing it. If we're going to tax people...people need to be involved," Councilman Brendon Kearns said.

On Friday, we expect Vigo County Commissioners to make the proposals public.

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