Madison County Sheriff wants new jail

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MADISON COUNTY, Ind. -- There are too many inmates in a jail that's outdated and unsafe. Madison County Sheriff Scott Mellinger said the solution to overcrowding and a facility more than 30 years old, is to build a brand new jail in Anderson.

"Right now it’s a game of musical chairs. We’re just shuffling people around every day and hoping that we’re putting them in the right places," Sheriff Mellinger said.

The overcrowding issue, Mellinger said, is dangerous not only for inmates, but also for jail officers. The jail has 207 beds, bur right now, there's 290 inmates each day. That means, the jail is nearly 50 percent over capacity.

Mellinger is hoping a brand new jail would be able to house at least 400 inmates. The cost for that could be more than $30 million and could be coming at the expense of taxpayers.

"A tax increase might be an option, although none of us want to look at that option," Sheriff Mellinger said.

Sheriff Mellinger is working with local county leaders to come up with a solution. A plan could take some time, but Mellinger said he's hoping to have a new jail built within the next 3-4 years.

"If we continue to put band aids on a facility that just isn't built for what we need, potential lawsuits will far outweigh the cost of a new jail," he said.

There's already a property in mind that Sheriff Mellinger said the county will take possession of soon. He's hoping they can use that for the new jail.

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