Jasper County Jail in need of expansion

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The Jasper County sheriff says there’s a dire need to expand the county jail – a challenge he’s hoping to tackle in the near future.

It boils down to too many inmates in the Jasper County lock up. In 2018 alone, the jail averaged 232 inmates per day while capacity is supposed to be 183 – in a jail that dates back to 1992.

“Back then population was a fraction of what it is today,” says Randee Kaiser, Jasper Co. Sheriff.

And now Jasper County Sheriff Randee Kaiser says more space is needed.

“Things on the wish list is 50 general population cells, ten ad seg cells,” says Randee Kaiser.

And another five special needs cells. Kaiser would also like to create space to focus on inmates with addiction issues.

“That is on the list of things we’d like to implement the ability to do residential drug treatment at that facility,” says Kaiser.

The inmate overload affects everything the jail – ranging from security and food service to the ability to meet with an attorney or churches that want to offer onsite programming. And when they head out for court hearings, there are also issues just getting to the courtroom.

“They have to use public hallways and public staircases to do that that’s not only a flight risk but also it’s a safety concern for people that are coming in to do business,” says Eric Theis, Jasper Co. Ct. Administrator.

The sheriff would like to see another 20 thousand square feet, or an increase of nearly 50%. It’s estimated at a cost of $8 – 10 million dollars, that’s on the agenda for tomorrow’s county commission meeting. We’ll have the latest on that decision tomorrow on action 12 news. Money that’s not currently in the jail budget.

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