Carroll County given deadline to fix jail overcrowding issues

It's an old problem getting worse. Overcrowding at the Carroll County jail continues to be an issue.

Posted: Jan. 26, 2018 7:07 PM
Updated: Jan. 26, 2018 7:14 PM

CARROLL COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) -- It's an old problem getting worse. Overcrowding at the Carroll County jail continues to be an issue.

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"It's sad. I mean jail life is not comfortable anyway," said Dawn Lucy.

Lucy knows just how hard jail life can be.

"I don't like to admit it but I've been there. And I've had to deal with that," said Lucy.

She said it's even tougher facing time in an overcrowded jail.

"Sleeping on the floor is even worse than being on a hard metal bed with just a thin, small mat."

Overcrowding is an issue the Carroll County Jail hasn't been able to overcome.

Sheriff Tobe Leazenby said the jail's maximum capacity is 34 inmates. Just this week, the jail was holding 43 inmates.

The issue stems from a law that became effective in 2015. The law says a person convicted of lower level felonies will be sent to county jails instead of the state department of corrections.

In 2016, county commissioners were issued a non-compliance letter from the state. Leazenby says the problem was temporarily fixed by sending inmates to other facilities and paying rent for each one.

"And then like several other county jails in the state, they started filling up as well," said Leazenby. "And so Clinton County came to us and said, sorry we're at capacity."

Then last September, the commissioners were issued a second non-compliance letter.

"In essence it spelled out that they must respond with several proactive measures to alleviate this problem. The deadline for that is March 1st," said Leazenby.

Short term fixes to meet the March 1st date include clearing out more storage space and making more room for inmates. But the long term fix Leazenby says is either building a new jail or renovating the one that exists now.

"I would love to see them do things to make our community a better place. So if an expansion to the jail is what that entails, I'm totally fine with that," said Leazenby.

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