Vanderburgh Co. Sheriff still seeking funds for jail expansion

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 2:46 PM CDT
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VANDERBURGH Co., Ind. (WFIE) - Sheriff Dave Wedding trying to find solutions to overcrowding issues in the Vanderburgh County Jail.

Sheriff Wedding says this is an issue he’s been battling for years, and that’s why yet another meeting was held early Tuesday morning with the Vanderburgh County Council.

“As a Sheriff, I owe it to the victims of crime to have adequate space to house people who commit crimes,” Sheriff Wedding said.

Sheriff Wedding says the jail has been running out space of for more than five years.

For perspective, the sheriff says they have around 700 plus inmates with only 550 beds in the jail, which is creating the overcrowding and the contract agreements with neighboring jails to house the overflow.

“I wish I had two jail cells and they were unoccupied, but that’s not what we have here in Evansville, Vanderburgh County,” Sheriff Wedding said.

The sheriff says over the last two days alone they’ve taken in over 60 people and processed them through the jail.

He says a big portion of the population suffers from mental illness which keeps them coming back.

That’s why the sheriff and Representative Wendy McNamara drafted a letter to the governor’s office seeking up to $2 million for extra bed space and a mental health wing.

Until then, Sheriff Wedding is working with the Vanderburgh County Council and county commissioners to design a detailed plan for the possible expansion.

“What we’re hoping to do is work with the courts, prosecutors, probation, case managers to try and help inmates divert out of jail. Maybe do drug treatment courts, electronic house detention, and just work with them. Try to get them into jobs. But nevertheless, we still need beds to adequately house the incarcerated,” Sheriff Wedding said.

Sheriff Wedding says there’s no timeline for any of this, but he is hoping to get things moving soon.

We also reached out to the county council for comment and didn’t get a response.

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