Talks underway to expand Vanderburgh Co. Detention Center by over 200 beds

Vanderburgh County Jail. (Source: WFIE)
Vanderburgh County Jail. (Source: WFIE)

VANDERBURGH CO., IN (WFIE) - A push underway to expand the Vanderburgh County Detention Center.

At a meeting Tuesday afternoon, Vanderburgh County Commissioner Bruce Ungethiem announced county leaders were exploring funding options to allow for an expansion at the facility.

Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding told 14NEWS that he would like to see the jail expanded to include over 200 more beds for inmates.

Sheriff Wedding said an expansion of this magnitude could cost upwards of $20 million.  But Vanderburgh County Commissioners did not announce any specific cost figures at Tuesday's meeting.

The inmate population at the jail has been hovering around 700 inmates for much of 2016.  However, the facility is made to house only 512 inmates.

Sheriff Wedding says county officials already have around 60 inmates housed at three different facilities outside Vanderburgh County because there's not enough bed space.

Under House Enrolled Act 1006, Sheriff Wedding says the Vanderburgh County Jail is now responsible for housing convicted felons with sentences of less than two years.  That's instead of those convicted felons being shipped off to the Indiana Department of Correction.

"We need to have space to house these people.  I will not let someone out of my jail, who needs to be in custody.  We have programs that are in place to try and reduce the jail population, but those programs could take years before they significantly decrease the numbers.  I also have to think of the safety of my staff tasked with working with hundreds of inmates everyday, " explained Sheriff Wedding.

Commissioner Ungethiem said in Tuesday's meeting that county leaders were in talks with state officials concerning funding options provided by Local Income Tax (LIT) Legislative Bill, slated for this upcoming legislative session.

No other information was discussed concerning funding options for the jail expansion or how the Local Income Tax Legislative Bill would fund the project.

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