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Vigo Co. Expediting Jail Site Approval, May Have Final Site Next Month

vigo-co-jail1.jpg

The current jail sits next to the county courthouse in downtown Terre Haute. (Joe Hren, WFIU/WTIU News)

A court-ordered update on a new Vigo County Jail says commissioners are considering three sites for the project, and may have a final decision by the next hearing on Feb. 13.

A federal judge ruled in October that conditions a the current jail are unconstitutional because of overcrowding. The decision is part of a lawsuit that alleges conditions violate the Eight and Fourteenth Amendment rights of inmates. 

As part of the ruling, the judge ordered county leaders to prioritize the long-disputed proposal for a new jail and file regular updates with the court. 

In an update filed Monday, commissioners say they have met with three ownership groups who own property that would accommodate the planned design. 

"Proposals for survey, elevation, and other issues related to site suitability have been approved for completion for those sites under consideraion," the court document says. "The commissioners are expediting that work both to meet the Court's expectations and to make an informed slection on a final site." 

Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett said last week that commissioners are looking at sites outside city limits to avoid zoning issues with city officials. The Terre Haute City Council voted against rezoning land on Prairieton Road last month to make way for a new county jail. 

Monday's update says "due diligence work" should be finished before the next hearing on Feb. 13, and that the final site may be selected and purchased by that date. 

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