Jail construction, jail taxes and a point usually missed: “Our jail overcrowding issue is largely based on the inability of people to pay bail.”


We can trust Jeff Gillenwater always to cut straight to the chase.

Amid bountiful controversy over jail expansion and jail taxes, hardly anyone including the local chain newspaper has asked why we’re jailing so many people.

Our jail overcrowding issue is largely based on the inability of people to pay bail. Sheriff Loop recently mentioned that typically over half the Floyd County inmates at any given time are there not because they’ve been convicted but because they are awaiting trial and can’t make bail. That 50-60% statistic holds up nationally. Those with financial means await trial at home while continuing to work jobs, go to school, tend children, or whatever it is they normally do. Those without enough money to pay bail lose jobs, struggle with childcare or have children taken away, etc., often while charged with the same or similar crimes. We have a prosecutorial problem, not a jail problem.


In addition, after months of trench warfare, suddenly City Hall has become amenable to the jail project. This might be because the mayor got what he wanted in terms of a new luxury City Hall and can afford to play nice.

It might also be the approach of a 2019 campaign season during which the irrational hostility of ranking municipal Democrats toward Republican-dominated county government is likely to become a campaign issue damaging to the Democrats, hence a low-grade charm offensive to keep us off-balance.

Pro tip: keep your eye on the anchor, and never stop following the money.

Agreement reached on jail construction permits in Floyd County, by Chris Morris (That Tom May Show)

MEW ALBANY — The city of New Albany and Floyd County government have reached an agreement for the $15 million jail renovation project to move forward.

There had been some disagreement as to which entity had control over permitting for the work. However, city attorney Shane Gibson said Friday the city had issued work permits for the contractor. The city will also inspect the work once it is completed.

Floyd County attorney Rick Fox said both sides got together with “all the players” and went through the process. Now the project can move forward.