Sullivan County Jail deals with influx

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The Sullivan County Jail has recently dealt with an influx of inmates and now they’re joining the bandwagon on overcrowding issues.

Sullivan County Sheriff Clark Cottom says just a month ago they were at 200 percent capacity.

The Sullivan County Jail was built in the 80s with the capacity to hold 54 inmates that number is still state approved today, but the count is now up to the 70s and inmates are being housed in surrounding counties one actually being Vigo.

The Sullivan County Jail was once a place that overflowing jails could seek some refuge. Sheriff Cottom says at one time they could house 25 additional Vigo County inmates.

In his time of two-term sheriff the capacity has never been this full.

“There are not a lot of low risk criminals in the sullivan county jail, very few, the biggest problem here in the Wabash Valley is methamphedamine it seems to be back on the rise again,” Sheriff Cottom said.

Sheriff Cottom says Meth leads to many other crimes like theft and battery. Also, in the past two years level 6 felons are now housed in county jails instead of prisons and the influx has caught up to Sullivan.

“We have 11 at Parke County, 11 at Posey County, 4 at Daviess County, 3 at Vigo County 1 at Knox County.”

Sheirff Cottom says he called roughly 30 surrounding counties and only these five were able to take some inmates. This is a temporary solution, Sheriff says he’s working with county commissioners the council and courts to look at a long term solution.

Joel Modesitt is an associate attorney and representative of sullivan county commissioners.

“They try and find ways to make sure they can keep the jail count down, they also look for options for people if its a drug offense for more treatment options, but in some instances there’s not a lot they can do,” Modesitt said.

Luckily the county has generated funds from previously housing Vigo County inmates and for taking in level 6 felons. It’s been enough money for some major jail renovations like a new roof in 2016, it’s also covered relocation expenses for inmates.

“There may be a time if the number stay up there may be a time where we have to go back to the council and ask for additional appropriations, that’s something that no sheriff wants to do,” Sheriff Cottom said.

At this point there are no litigations. But overcrowding is something that many counties are seeing especially with the influx of taking in level 6 felons.
    

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