The Vigo County Council held a public hearing Wednesday to present their funding proposal for the development of a new county jail.
The meeting comes after the county conducted a feasibility study to evaluate the recommended size and structure of the proposed facility.
Michael Wright is the attorney for the County Commissioners. He says the study, though controversial is a necessary first step to solving jail overcrowding.
“I know a lot of things were said about that feasibility study, but the fact is that it does contain an analysis of the programs that we have that are an alternative to incarceration,” says Wright.
The study recommends the $66 million jail hold 527 beds and employ 80 full time workers.
County commissioners have proposed a three-quarters of one cent local income tax increase to fund the project.
The majority of residents who spoke last night were against the project.
Resident Brian Bunnett says the money should be used instead to help the county’s Schools.
“If we build a mega jail and tax ourselves to build a mega jail, is there going to be any money left for high schools? So, what’s more important? Prisons, schools. Kids, inmates?” says Bunnett.
Residents also voiced concerns about understaffing at the current jail, the need for more alternatives to incarceration and concerns of fueling the school to prison pipeline.
The County Council will vote on the proposal at its Aug. 14 meeting.