NEW CASTLE—The Henry County Jail in New Castle is 40-years-old and not nearly large enough to handle the number of inmates who need to be there.
Thursday night, the Henry County Council took steps designed to fund a new and much larger jail. The council passed a 0.2% income tax which will take effective in January.
Here's what that works out to, according to Henry County Auditor Debbie Walker. A person with an annual income of $46,000 would pay about $87 per-year. The tax would be in effect for 22 years.
The tax, which some other Indiana counties are already using to build new jails, would fund construction of a jail in New Castle.
But how much that facility will cost and other specifics about the proposed jail are still being worked out. Sheriff Richard McCorkle hopes to have a better picture by late next year.
He is pushing for a jail about three times the size of the current one, with room for about 300 inmates. "We have to have room to grow," said McCorkle.
That's because the number of inmates is growing. "We believe our numbers will go up because of the drug problem," the sheriff said.
When the current jail gets too crowded, McCorkle has to send inmates to other counties, some as far away as northern Indiana.
The sheriff is also exploring the possibility of a regional jail, a facility housing inmates from a number of counties.