Hancock County considering $55M jail renovation due to overcrowding

HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. – Extreme overcrowding at the Hancock County jail that has left inmates forced to sleep on the floor, prompted commissioners to consider a $55 million renovation of criminal justice facilities.

Those living and working in the facility said there is not enough space to keep everyone safe.

"Really bad,” said inmate Kaitlyn Mundy. “Because I mean I don't like stepping on people when I'm coming out of my room and I don't like people sleeping on the floor. It's really dirty."

There is just one shower available per 33 inmates.

"We are putting these staff members in that situation every day knowing that it's just a matter of time before something happens,” said Keith Oliver, assistant jail commander. “We've asked for people, we've asked for help and we've asked for a new building. Now we are starting to move in that direction for a new jail."

Rebuilding a new facility would be the largest investment Hancock County has ever made, and some people don’t agree with the idea.

"I think if we're going to build it, we need to build it with the idea that we are going to help people and we're going to change. Because just building another building to house the people in another 10-15 years, we will be overpopulated again,” said Martha Vail.

If approved, taxpayers would fund the renovation through increased property or income taxes.

"I'm concerned about the money but also where we are going to get it and how they're going to get it. And what is the most practical method of doing this,” said John Priore from Greenfield.

The Hancock County Board of Commissioners will have three months to decide on the renovation.

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