In this week’s edition of What The Community Has To Say, Wayne Park, talks about the overcrowding jails around the Tri-state area and the safety concerns that arise from these problems. This segment aired on Saturday, July 22nd.
Vanderburgh County citizens, we have a serious problem that needs to be solved as soon as possible. Our current jail is running over with inmates! This overcapacity issue creates many problems including safety concerns for the jail guards and the inmates because of the grossly overcrowded conditions.
The jail was built in 2006 and has a design capacity of 540 inmates. In December 2016 there were 624 inmates in our jail, and 60 inmates in surrounding county jails because we did not have the space. In addition, there were 100 outstanding felonies for people who had not yet been arrested. So if everybody was in our jail that should have been, we would have had 784 inmates, which is 145% over its currently designed capacity. Yes, we have a big problem that needs to fixed by building additional jail space.
The key to properly fixing the problem is to developed a good written “Jail Expansion Plan” because the solution will require a tax increase. Our City and County elected officials must work together to determine what kind of additional jail space is needed, and how much it will cost to solve our space problem in the most cost effective manner. There must be a “Jail Expansion Plan” on paper before seeking new tax increase legislation like was done earlier this year.
The County Commissioners by state law are responsible for establishing and maintaining the jail. The County Sheriff is responsible for operating the jail. In order to increase the local taxes to pay for the required jail expansion, the local Tax Board, made up of Evansville City Council Members, Vanderburgh County Council Members and Darmstadt officials, must approve any increase in taxes.
I believe the citizens of Vanderburgh County want those people who should be in jail, in jail, by fixing this lack of capacity problem in a cost effective, expeditious manner.
I am Wayne Parke Chairman of Vanderburgh County Republican Party and that is what I have to say.