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Cell doors at the Madison County Jail are breaking, and repairing them isn't easy

Just one of the problems Sheriff Mellinger faces
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Posted at 5:45 PM, Oct 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-27 17:45:12-04

ANDERSON — Madison County Sheriff Scott Mellinger has a number of problems on his hands. The county jail in Anderson is at 140% of capacity, there are 40 inmates in COVID quarantine, and cell doors are breaking right and left.

The door issue has been building for more than two-years, according to the sheriff. "The most urgent doors are the heavier maximum security doors," said Mellinger. "Motors started failing and we can't find the parts."

Recently, as many as 16 doors were broken. Repairs, which are probably temporary, were made on some, but nine door need to be replaced. The tracks and frames are bent. Some of the damage, according to the sheriff, is caused by inmates kicking the doors at the 36-year-old jail.

Repairs and replacements will cost more than $100,000. There is no money in the sheriff's budget for that, so he's asking the county council for help. Work could take up to three-months.

In the meantime, Mellinger has to reduce the inmate population because of the cells which are no longer secure. The goal is to transfer about 30 offenders to other Indiana counties that have room in their jails. The cost to Madison County is about $40 per-day per-inmate.

Mellinger hopes to to move the inmates within the next week.