WABASH VALLEY, Ind. (WAWV/WTWO) – A new law to address overcrowding concerns at county jails will take effect July 1st.

The law will reverse the state’s 2014 decision to send low level felons to county jails to serve their sentences. Local law enforcement officials believe this change will reduce the inmate populations at the county level.

The Clay County Justice Center currently holds approximately 15 offenders with a level six felony for the Indiana Department of Corrections. Clay County Sheriff Paul Harden said while level six felonies are not a physical threat to the community, they are still sentenced to state corrections facilities.

“Level six is the lowest level felony violation such as possession of drugs or trust passing type charges,” Harden said.

Harden said in the past the Indiana Department of Corrections would leave low level offenders in local jails.

“A lot of times they leave low level offenders as they have a shorter sentence,” Harden said. “But these individuals need to be housed where they’ve been sentenced to.”

According to Sheriff Harden the new law will also benefit low level offenders as well.

“We don’t have the room to do programs that the prisons do for a lot of the prisoners to help reintroduce them back into society,” Harden said. “They need to be back into the Department of Corrections.”

Vigo County Sheriff John Plasse said the new bill will also allow ease at the county level, as it will open up bed space to those with a higher level felony.

“As of last week one inmate was held at a level six to go to the state prison out of around 340 inmates,” Plasse said.

Plasse said while that isn’t a huge number, he believes the new bill will allow ease in the long run.

“It’s just the state doing the right thing now and taking that burden off of the counties,” Plasse said.

Again the new law will go into effect July 1st.