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Sheriff Starts Group To Deal With Overcrowded County Jails

The Indiana Department of Corrections plans to reduce overcrowding in its prisons by no longer accepting people who have commited crimes carrying sentences of 90 days or less after July 1.

An Indiana sheriff says state lawmakers must address the issue of overcrowded and understaffed county jails.

The Evansville Courier & Press reports Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding formed a committee of sheriffs from both major political parties to lobby lawmakers. The group is meeting in Muncie later this month.

Among the committee’s main concerns are overcrowded jails, funding and inmates with mental illnesses.

As of Monday, there were 716 inmates at the Vanderburgh County Jail. The jail’s capacity is 540.

Wedding called it “mind-boggling.” He says “We’ve got to quit talking and start doing.”

Vigo County is also struggling with jail overcrowding and facing lawsuits as a result. Officials there are trying to finalize a plan for a new jail to help address the issue.

Sheriffs say one of the major issues is that the state pays local jails just $35 per day to house low-level Department of Corrections inmates. That per diem hasn’t changed in more than two decades.

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