THE Labor Day outbreak at the Bartholomew County Jail supports the premise that there needs to be more supervision and dedicated inmate space at the facility.

That means more staff, the right kind of staff, with the ability to classify inmates properly so more dangerous individuals can be separated from the general jail population.

Inmates broke out their cell doors, injured staff when a thrown metal rod struck a jailer and flooded a cell block. That resulted in thousands of dollars in damage, such as $8,000 to the cell doors.

Bartholomew County Sheriff Matt Myers said jail overcrowding and insufficient staff size and operational space is a problem. Since 2015, Indiana has required that Level 6 offenders be housed in county jails rather than the state’s prison system.

The Bartholomew County Council already has approved additional overtime for the sheriff’s department to get through the rest of this year. The council initially appropriated $70,967 for overtime, but the jail has had to seek additional allocations. By the end of July, a total of $82,247 had been provided.

Now the council needs to follow through with additional monies in next year’s sheriff’s department/jail budget, as those decisions are finalized, to ensure that the jail has sufficient resources to handle inmate population and ensure the safety of the inmates and jail staff.

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