Successful Posey Co. drug raids lead to jail overcrowding - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Successful Posey Co. drug raids lead to jail overcrowding

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POSEY CO., IN (WFIE) -

After successful drug raids and arrests, the Posey County Jail now has an expensive problem to solve- overcrowding. 

More arrests means more people locked up. Right now, the Posey County Jail is at capacity and the sheriff says they need help.

"Since 2011, we've had two very large scale warrant operations that have netted well over 70 individuals," Posey County Sheriff Greg Oeth says. 

Sheriff Oeth added that along the way, they've arrested about 30 more individuals on drug-related crimes. That's more than 100 in the past two-and-a-half years.

Undercover investigations and new tactics work so well that they're facing a recurring problem.

"The negative aspects is it increases the jail population, and the county jail here in Posey County has 62 beds. That's our capacity, 62 beds," Sheriff Oeth says.

In early 2011, Sheriff Oeth says jail population peaked at 38. But on Tuesday, the jail has 70 inmates. The sheriff says they've renovated conference rooms to house inmates and put cots in holding cells, but it's not just space that's an issue.

"We have to feed those individuals. We have to take care of their medical needs. Typically when we have individuals involved in these kind of cases, they come to us with a host of medical needs," Sheriff Oeth tells 14 News.

At the jail's highest capacity, it held 90 inmates and put people in every space they could.

So do low-risk offenders get released due to overcrowding?

County Prosecutor Travis Clowers says not even close. 

"The sheriff has been excellent about either one, making space. Two, he can also look to other close in proximity jails, work with other sheriffs to have people transferred there if they need to be held or he can work with the Department of Correction," Clowers says.

"We're not going to allow that to diminish what we're doing out in the community, and this effort of slowing the drug trafficking down," Sheriff Oeth says.

Sheriff Oeth says a study to asses the jail's needs and current budget is underway. In budget meetings in the upcoming weeks, he plans to ask county officials for more money to keep the jail running.

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