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Increased Drug Activity Causing Overcrowding At Jails
Updated June 10, 2015 8:26 AM
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(JACKSON CO.) - Officials in Jackson County are looking into several options to alleviate overcrowding in the county jail, in light of a recent rise in female inmates.

County officials are considering establishing a work release center in Seymour that would allow low-level felons to work instead of crowding into jail cells. Officials are also re-evaluating court procedures in hopes of moving more cases through the court process quickly in hopes of helping the overcrowding at the jail.

The Jackson County jail can house 172, but the inmate population often exceeded that number by more than two dozen.

The increase in population is because of the increase in drug-related arrests. Surrounding counties are also seeing an increase in jail population, including Lawrence County.

"I remember back in 91 when we had one block in the jail that would hold 8 women and that was all we ever needed," Lawrence County Sheriff Mike Branham says. "The offenses than were an occasional public intoxicated charge or check deception. Now we are holding high-level felons for a much longer time. Many have been bonded out and then re-offend and now don't have a bond and most of the charges stem from drugs."

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Carothers says the new criminal code revision which requires offenders convicted of Class D felonies sentenced one year or less be housed in county jails instead of state prisons will add to the overcrowding problem.

"Judges are going to have to change some of their sentencing methods in order to cut down on the jail population, or come up with sentencing alternatives or counties will have to spend millions of dollars to make additional jail space," Carothers says.

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