jail overcrowding

Sheriffs Ask For County Jail Per Diem Increase

Aug 28, 2018
The number of Level 6 felons in county jails increased about 37 percent in the last year. (WFIU/WTIU)
Brandon Smith

Indiana sheriffs say the money they get to house Department of Correction inmates needs to increase. 

Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA

Many Indiana county jails struggle with overcrowding, so a common practice is to transfer inmates to another jail that has available space. That process can cost local law enforcement thousands of dollars a month, as sheriffs are effectively renting cell space from each other.

In Wabash County Sheriff Bob Land’s office, there’s a sign hanging above his desk that reads, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that created them."

Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA

Three out of every four Indiana jails are overcrowded, according to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

The majority of sheriffs say their inmate population has increased significantly since the passage of a criminal code revision nearly four years ago. And some are trying to find local solutions before they’re hit with a lawsuit.

Scott Wagner / https://www.flickr.com/photos/lonewolfhdr/5694061342

Monroe County officials are beginning work on a program they hope will reduce the number of people in the county’s jail and keep offenders from missing court appointments.

Using a $40,000 grant from the Indiana Supreme Court, the Monroe County probation department will start what’s called a pretrial release program.

It consists of a probation officer meeting with low-level offenders, screening them, then recommending whether they should be released to home detention or another community corrections program instead of being kept in jail while they wait for a trial.