Jails overcrowded in the region

By: Ashley Reynolds Email
By: Ashley Reynolds Email

Jailers say the war on drugs is leading to overcrowding.

Many drug dealers are repeat offenders and facing longer sentences -- this means detention centers are filling up.

It's hard to find an empty cell in the Whitley County Detention Center.
"The system is not broke. It's just backed up in my opinion," said Whitley County Jailer, Ken Mobley.

So backed up the the jail is usually overcrowded.
The jail can house 180 inmates, right now there are 216 inmates.
The jailer says they are working with the court system so they house everyone.

"The judges will work with us and we will try to get them bonded out as soon as we can...but in today's time, there are a lot of drug charges...serious charges... and they are going to be here," said Mobley.

In Knox County, the jail only has 35 beds...so workers are constantly sending inmates to other jails.

Knox County Jailer Mary Hammons says she routinely sends about twice the amount of inmates she can house at the Knox County Jail to different jails. She says this really highlights the need for a new detention center.

"We would like to have a new jail. We are working on a new jail. Our county is behind us," said Hammons.

Hammons says a new jail would end up saving more money in the long run because the cost of transporting inmates adds up.

In the meantime, jailers say there is no quick fix to the problem. They will have to continue to work with judges and attorneys so those with lighter sentences can get out quicker.

Jailers say inmates that do not have beds sleep on mats.

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