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Study: Vigo Co. Jail Needs 527 Beds, Could Cost $66 Million

Vigo Co Jail

The report says the current jail should have double the staff currently employed at the facility. (WFIU/WTIU News)

Vigo County officials received the first part of an assessment of their judicial system today, including plans for a new county jail. The report is the result of a years-long debate over how to solve overcrowding.

RJS Services, the firm conducting the study, submitted part one of the judicial assessment study today.

County residents called for the study last year after county commissioners signed a contract with Indianapolis firm DLZ for a new jail.

Opponents of the DLZ contract asked for the county to consider renovations to the current jail, or to seek alternative solutions, like a regional jail used by Vigo and the surrounding counties. But the RJS study says neither of those options are feasible for resolving overcrowding. It recommends a new facility.

Previously, the firm had recommended a new jail with a capacity of around 462 beds. This assessment says the facility would need 527 beds in order to accommodate the county’s needs through 2050. The current jail can house about half as many people.

The report says the current jail should have double the staff currently employed at the facility.

The report says 180 full-time employees would be needed for the jail design proposed by DLZ. It says that number is “very unrealistic and tied directly to inefficiencies in that design.” The report says a 527-bed facility should not require a staff that large.

The facility proposed by DLZ in 2016 was projected to cost around $60 million; RJS puts the revised cost at around $66 million. That doesn’t include the costs associated with operating the jail.

The public can weigh in on the report at a hearing August 1.

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