A sheriff says jail disturbances like one that injured three officers have become more common now that counties are housing prisoners that formerly went to the Indiana Department of Correction.
Bartholomew County Sheriff Matthew Myers told his county commissioners and county council members Tuesday about the disturbance that occurred a day earlier, attributing it to overcrowding and not having enough staff or operational space.
“Overcrowding, although beyond our control, has increased tensions,” Myers said. “The jail has been damaged and my staff has been hurt.”
Jail Capt. Nicole Kinman suffered injuries to her abdomen and lower leg and two other officers suffered minor injuries after an inmate kicked out a portion of his cell door, tore apart the bottom and threw metal rods at them, jail officials said.
Inmates also caused flooding last weekend by allowing showers and toilets to overflow, Myers said. When the water went through the doors, it flooded several levels of the jail, including a work release area.
The jail last year housed 76 inmates that formerly would have gone to the Department of Correction before the General Assembly changed the law, Myers said.
“Jails across the state are bursting at the seams and (the Bartholomew County Jail) is feeling the pinch, causing tensions to mount,” Myers said. “We will maintain order, it is just more difficult with the increased number of inmates. We are working with members of the county council to find ways that we can open up additional operational space.”