Decarcerate Monroe County members gathered at the steps of Bloomington City Hall on Saturday to protest the expiration of a cap on the number of inmates who are held in Monroe County Jail.
A settlement between the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and Monroe County capped the number of jail inmates at 278. That settlement expired Saturday, but Monroe County Sherriff James Kennedy has requested a year extension that is awaiting approval by a federal judge.
Protestors held signs, chanted “Stop jail expansion”, played music and held up hand-painted signs.
Protest organizer Erin Marshall says she believes the possible cap extension is a good start, but there are still problems to overcome.
“Our fear is that the county and the sheriff will again make another push as they did in 2008 and as they have times before to build a new, larger jail which is not the solution,” she says.
Marshall says the jail was only designed to hold 126 people. So even with the cap, she says, it’s still overcrowded. Decarcerate says the county and city could help the problem by not charging people for public intoxication and expanding late-night public transportation.
The group marched from City Hall to the Monroe County Jail hoping the jail inmates would hear their protests.
The sheriff’s office did not respond to WFIU’s requests for comment.