SULLIVAN COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - It's an all too familiar problem: jail overcrowding. Another Wabash Valley community is trying to address the issue before it becomes a court issue.
Sullivan County leaders are working out the details of a jail project. They say they are in the "fact finding" phase. County commissioners gathered more information at a meeting Monday night.
Sheriff Clark Cottom says jail beds are hard to find nowadays. One-third of the Sullivan County jail population is housed in other facilities and that costs money.
Now county leaders are trying to figure out if a jail expansion or a new jail is the best option. They also need to figure out how to pay for such a project.
Sheriff Clark Cottom says, "There will be a lot of meetings to come and a lot of discussion to come and a lot of visits to other facilities to come. Eventually, perhaps, the commissioners may decide on a particular plan and they'll forward that plan to the county council and then the county council has the big job to do, to decide how to fund it."
County leaders are working with a financial planner to go over all the options.
Commissioners are hearing proposals from architecture firms. The second of three firms, RQAW Architecture, presented a plan during Monday night’s meeting.
Commissioners have already heard from architecture firm DLZ. If that name sounds familiar it's because it's the same firm designing Vigo County’s new jail.
County commissioners want the comparisons to Vigo County to stop there. They say they're committed to working together with council members to ensure the problem gets fixed so they don't also face lawsuits thanks to unsafe conditions.
The sheriff says the jail was at 200% capacity at the first of the year. He is checking out other jails to see what could work for Sullivan County.
County commissioners will hear from a third firm, Elevatus Architecture Fort Wayne, at an upcoming meeting. The specific date has not yet been set.
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