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Hancock Co. Still Weighing How To Address Jail Overcrowding

Like many jails across Indiana, Hancock County is holding far more inmates than its facility is designed to (Steve Burns, WFIU/WTIU News).

Officials in a central Indiana county says it’s more fiscally responsible to build a new jail than temporarily house some inmates in semitrailers.

The biggest barrier for Hancock County continues to be funding the project.

There were 242 people in the jail Thursday, which is designed to hold just under 160.  

The county asked taxpayers to support a property tax increase in May to fund a $55 million safety and security project that included a new jail. But, the referendum failed.

Then the county considered buying 20 specialty semitrailers to use as a temporary housing facility.

Jail Commander Keith Oliver says they now think building a new jail will save the county money in the long run.

"It would also give us more space, more availability for beds, and a bigger opportunity for growth," Oliver says. 

Oliver says a local income tax increase could help fund the $30 to $40 million project, but it couldn’t go into effect until at least October. He expects county officials to approve the funding measure early next year. 

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