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12/31/2018 10:46:00 AM
Sheriff gives update on temporary Decatur County jail facility

Joshua Heath, Greensburg Daily News

GREENSBURG — Decatur County Sheriff Greg Allen recently provided an update on the construction of the temporary jail facility.

The construction of the temporary facility, located on Broadway Street, broke ground in early December. The temporary jail will be 3,400 square-feet temporary jail facility that will consist of two housing areas.

Allen said the foundation has been completed, and they are currently awaiting the arrival of the jail pods. They’re anticipating the arrival of the pods in mid-February. 

Allen said the facility is expected to be up and running in March.

The facility is intended to assist with the current jail overcrowding issue. Since the jail facility is split into two different housing areas, each side will be able to house 24 inmates for a total of 48.

The taxpayer money to cover the temporary facility will come from the jail tax that was initiated in the last two years, specifically to handle jail functions, buildings and operations.

The Decatur County Council has already set the money aside out of the jail tax, according to Decatur County Jail Commander Tony Blodgett.

Blodgett has previously said the building will meet all 2015 and 2016 American Jail Association Standards.

In August, Greensburg Board of Zoning Appeals called for the new facility to be revisited within two years of the completion and occupancy of the new jail (expected to be ready in 2020), for barbed wire around the top of the building, and a 10-foot high fence around the driveway and the sides of the building.

Allen spoke said the temporary jail will help with the current issues at the jail.

“I’m very happy for the jail staff,” Allen said. “They deserve it. It’s a tough job. Sometimes, tempers can flare [due to overcrowding], so this is going to be good for everyone involved.”

While the temporary jail is intended to hold the county over until the new jail is ready to go, the whole process of building a new jail and providing a temporary facility for the well-being of both inmates and jail staff, has been worthwhile for Allen. 

While Allen will no longer be sheriff come Jan. 1 after serving the state’s maximum of two terms, he took the time to look back on his efforts when it came to moving forward with a new and improved Decatur County Jail.

“I think it was a necessity for our county to get that new jail,” Allen said. “It will assist with the safety of people in the jail, the staff and the people of Decatur County. It was a really good undertaking.”

The new jail is expected to be ready in the spring of 2020.

Many questions have been focused on what will be done with the temporary jail facility once the new jail has been completed. Allen said that’s still up in the air and will be decided at a later date.

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