Sheriff Williams: Vanderburgh Co. Jail seeing more women - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Sheriff Williams: Vanderburgh Co. Jail seeing more women behind bars

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By Gretchen Ross - bio | email | Twitter
Posted by Kelsey Wheatcroft - email

VANDERBURGH CO, IN (WFIE) - More women are being locked up at the Vanderburgh County Jail according to Vanderburgh County Sheriff Eric Williams.

Sheriff Williams says overcrowding is a constant issue but during the past few months the jail has seen a lot more women behind bars.

It's a trend that's happening all over the country, more women are being arrested and mostly for drug crimes. Sheriff Williams says he is working with the courts system to come up with alternatives to incarceration.

Williams says there are eight housing units for women in the jail with 64 beds each and all of them are full. Over the weekend Williams says 73 women were in one housing unit with another 23 being kept temporarily in the booking area.

A year ago the sheriff says there were extra beds available.

"If we continue to be above 64 in the female population and remains substantially crowded more so than the others, we will have to potentially look at shifting one of the male housing units to other units and moving females into that one."

That option, Williams says, would then overcrowd the male inmates.

When there are too many women getting booked in the jail and not enough leaving, Williams turns to the court system for help. Judges will go through the list of female inmates to look at ways to speed up the trial process.

Vanderburgh County Judge Carl Heldt says, "Have a pre-trial right now on it because at pre-trials often cases get resolved. So we will fast track that and bring in the prosecutor and the defense attorney and say can this thing be resolved in a way to move that prisoner out of jail."

The courts will also take a closer look at the bail requirements.

Heldt says, "To see if there is some way we can either reduce that bail or send them to work release in lieu of bail or put them on home detention in lieu of bail."

So far Judge Heldt says those options have removed around ten female inmates and hopes more will follow.

Sheriff Williams says right now is not the time to add on to the jail to create the bed space since the millions of dollars needed for construction are just not available.

There is another concern Sheriff Williams has, and he wants to add deputies.
Stay tuned to 14 News at 6 and we will tell you why.

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