Hancock County Jail Population Continues To Rise

5/14/18 – 5:11 A.M.

It’s not getting any easier to handle the growing number of inmates in the Hancock County Jail. If current trends continue, Hancock County could have 160 inmates to deal with by the end of the year, and a jail only designed to hold 98 people. One day in April saw the county dealing with 140 inmates.

When the jail is over capacity, Hancock County sends inmates to jails in other counties. However, that comes at an extra cost. The county spent more than $386,000 sending prisoners to Putnam, Wood, and Van Wert Counties in 2017. That doesn’t include transportation costs, which rose to more than $21,000.

Sheriff Mike Heldman says they may have to contract with another county soon to keep up with demand.

Heldman says it also presents a security risk. He says the best chance for an inmate to escape is during a jail transfer.

The growing number of female inmates is also an issue. When the jail opened, it could hold up to 18 women. On a recent day, the jail had 24 female inmates. Heldman says they’ve converted a cellblock for men to hold more women. He adds the opiate crisis has led to more prostitution and drug possession arrests for women.

MORE: The Courier