Sheriff: Inmates cause thousands in damages at Madison Co. Jail

DOWNTOWN JACKSON — Madison County Sheriff John Mehr said inmates caused between $15,000 and $20,000 in damage during a disturbance at the Madison County Jail on Saturday. He blamed overcrowding and understaffing. “Would not comply with commands and decided that they wanted to be disruptive,” Mehr said. Mehr said 16 inmates vandalized the jail Saturday night. He said the jail is overcrowded and short about 38 people needed to operate it. “We know we can’t staff it that way because of costs,” Mehr said. Commissioners said they are working to correct overcrowding but have not made a definite decision about expanding the jail. “Unfortunately it’s a long, slow process because we want to do this correctly,” Madison County Commissioner Doug Stephenson said. The sheriff‘s office said they had 308 inmates at the jail the night of the disturbance, which is five above capacity. “This just shows you that if you allow overcrowding to go indefinitely you will have these kind of problems,” Madison County Commissioner Gary Deaton said. Mehr said the state picked up some of the inmates involved in Saturday‘s disturbance and that the rest are in isolation. “We’ve only got so much space, and we’ve got to do something,” he said. The sheriff‘s office said they still are investigating and that inmates involved could face additional charges and end up spending more time in jail. Mehr said it took about an hour to an hour and a half to get the inmates under control. He said no one went to the hospital. The sheriff‘s office said they hope insurance will cover the cost of the damage.

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