New jail expected to be ready early next year

Sheriff Durant

GREENSBURG – The new Decatur County Jail could be up and running by February of next year.

Put simply, the new jail will help alleviate a jail overcrowding issue Decatur County has faced.

Original plans allow for 246 inmates to be held at the new jail facility, which sits on S. Ireland Street near the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department.

Durant said extra beds could be added.

Earlier this year, a 3,400 square-foot temporary jail was attached to the current jail. The temporary facility is built to house up to 48 inmates. The building is located on the Broadway Street side of the jail, between the current jail and the Greensburg Police Department.

The current jail, excluding the beds provided by the temporary facility, was originally built to serve 66 inmates. Accommodations were later made to increase that number to 85.

“The temporary facility helped out a lot,” Durant said. “We had a lot of people housed outside of Decatur County and those costs were thousands of dollars per month. We have minimized that number. We’re still at 150 percent capacity even with the new facility, and that shows the importance of the new jail.”

Not only will the jail address the overcrowding issue at the current facility, but there could be new programs for inmates to help prepare them for life outside of jail.

When the need for the temporary facility was first discussed, many raised the question: What will be done with the structure once the new jail opens?

For Durant, the answer is simple. He’d like to see it used for recovery and possible educational programs.

“I am fully in support of bringing the 48-bed facility over to the new jail, and it is clearer now and I’ve wanted it for some time, for some of the programs like Celebrate Recovery [to be there] and we’re possibly looking at having GED classes,” the sheriff said.

When he was elected sheriff last year, Durant said it was “probably one of the most exciting times for a sheriff coming into office in honestly maybe 20 or even 30 years.”

He said the sheriff’s department will finally be back into one building, and not only would they have more beds for inmates, but they would be able to work with different programs. It seems that stance hasn’t changed.

“It is equally important for me to help them [inmates] make changes,” Durant said, “and then maybe they don’t come back, and they help better their lives and the lives of their family.”

This is an ongoing story. The Daily News will provide more information as it becomes available.

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Contact: Joshua Heath, 812-663-3111 x7401; joshua.heath@greensburgdailynews.com.