VEEDERSBURG — After lengthy discussions, construction delays and some controversy, Fountain County will have a new jail and county law enforcement headquarters beginning July 6.
The newly built Fountain County Jail and Sheriff’s Office at 409 E. C.R. 50S in Veedersburg, promises added security, a more central location and up-to-date technology while housing nearly five times as many inmates as the aging jail in Covington.
Fountain County Sheriff Terry Holt, alongside deputies and jail staff, hosted an open house Sunday to allow taxpayers the opportunity to see how their money has been spent.
“We’ve probably had about 200 people so far today,” Holt said while giving a tour of the new facility. “It’s a new building and people want to see what their tax dollars are paying for. For the most part, everybody has been very supportive of this new facility.”
The $17 million project was approved nearly two years ago via split decision from Fountain County Commissioners. The certificate of substantial completion was approved during a joint county council and county commissioner public session March 9, allowing for final inspections and a grand opening over the summer.
The former jail was sorely lacking in modern necessities, Holt said, such as video visitation, digital court services and even adequate locks on cell doors.
“The whole thing over there (in Covington) is basically that it was not secure,” Holt said. “Inmates could actually pop locks open. They tried fixing it but they just couldn’t — there’s only so much you can do with an older building.
“Basically, they kept putting a Band-Aid on it.”
The new facility also offers assurance in the form of warranties so repairs can be made without incurring new expenses.
“Twenty years from now, surely, this will still be nice and going right and still working well,” Holt added.
The new facility can house up to 112 inmates at any given time, as opposed to a mere 25 at the former jail. Inmates have been housed at adjacent county jails, such as Montgomery County, in the past.
Savings will be significant in that regard — sending prisoners to other jails costs Fountain County $37.50 per day, per inmate.
“Before, we’d house them in different county jails, and our money was going outside of the county instead of staying here,” Holt said.
Digital court services, for instance, will also save funds for the county. With the county courthouse located in Covington, transportation costs and manpower will be utilized elsewhere.
The jail also comes complete with larger detox rooms, more holding cells, two-tiered cell blocks with a centrally located control center, skylights, a recreation room and a classroom.
“We’ll be having GED classes in here,” Holt said during the tour. “We’ve been talking to a lady who is willing to come and teach life-skills lessons and try to get them some type of certification.
“That way when they leave here they can have something to fall back on. Basically we’re planting a seed in them to help them get going. We’re trying to help them out.”
Drug intervention courses will also be offered for inmates.
The fate of the former jail is still in question, Holt said. Possibilities include county possession or allowing the Fountain-Warren Health Department to move in.
“Somebody will get good use out of it,” Holt added.
For more information about the new facility and its new capabilities, contact the sheriff’s office at 765-793-2410.