Sheriff: Jail is overcrowded due to changes in felony classification

(WISH photo)

BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) – A sheriff says his jail is experiencing a big increase in the number of inmates due to an updated criminal code and changed classifications of felonies.

Bartholomew County Sheriff Matthew Myers says the Bartholomew County Jail is one of the counties experiencing the influx of inmates.

The Indiana State Legislature now requires county jails to house criminals of level six felonies instead of the state prison system. Level six felonies are the lowest level of felonies in Indiana.

Myers said in 2015 there were no level six prisoners in the county jail. In 2016, there were 76 level six inmates.

“It isn’t a matter of not having the space, it’s a matter of not having enough staff to take on this influx,” said Myers, in a release.

Jail staff said they have received several calls and requests from other overcrowded jails around the state to house some of their level six inmates.

“We are working to be proactive.” said Myers. “Costs will be covered by monies within our current budget.”

The Indiana Department of Corrections recommended BCSO officials hire a consultant as they try to get ahead of the overcrowding issues faced by other Indiana jails.

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