Bartholomew County Sheriff Matt Myers says that recent discussions about putting a drug treatment center in the county jail are part of a larger discussion about reducing the jail overcrowding.
The sheriff says that the current jail situation does not allow for inmates to be properly separated by the severity of their offenses, nor does it allow for many treatment options for the influx of inmates addicted to drugs or incarcerated for drug related crimes.
While the overcrowding is affected by the drug epidemic, the situation has been made worse by a state mandate to keep level six felons in their home counties after conviction..
The old section of the Bartholomew County jail, which could relieve the overcrowding problem with its 100 beds, is unused.
Myers said that the priority to law enforcement is to keep the public safe and to make sure laws are obeyed. But that also puts the burden for dealing with the drug problem squarely on law enforcement.
The sheriff says the jail has been operating at or near its capacity for the past year. Within the last few weeks, the jail has been close to its capacity of 232 prisoners, and is at 209 today. Its high so far this year has been nearly 260 inmates, the sheriff said.