Sullivan County exploring jail options

Officials in Sullivan County are working to tackle jail overcrowding. They're looking at ways to add space to house more inmates.

Posted: Apr 2, 2019 6:23 PM

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Officials in Sullivan County are working to tackle jail overcrowding. They're looking at ways to add space to house more inmates.

We told you Monday about a meeting where county leaders learned about potential plans. There are several options on the table, from adding to the current location or building a brand new jail.

Sullivan County Sheriff Clark Cottom told us jails play several roles these days. That's why adequate space is so crucial.

He explained, “We have a lot of people in here with addictions, and there are people in here with mental illness, so we have to have a facility that can properly provide rehabilitation. And that's very difficult to do with a facility that's at 200% capacity."

Cottom says Sullivan County used to house inmates for other counties. Now, their jail population is so high, they have to send inmates elsewhere. In some cases, those inmates are two hours away.

Cottom hopes by starting this jail conversation now, it will help the process go smoothly.

He shared, "We don't want to become you know another Vigo County where we're under a federal lawsuit and we're being told, or ordered, what to do. We would rather do it at our pace with careful study, and making proper decisions."

Officials hope to have more solid financial options on the table for the next commissioner meeting April 15th.

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