(KMOV) -- The St. Clair County Sheriff said the jail is so full he had to turn away criminals, sending them back on to the streets.
Sheriff Rick Watson is promoting a public safety referendum that would increase the county sales tax by a quarter of a percent.
The money would fund a $37 million jail expansion and renovation.
Watson said right now, the jail houses about 140 additional inmates than it was designed for and each week as many as 50 criminals are released.
"So that means when we release these folks, they go back out into society and they go back into the same community they normally came from,” said Watson.
He said it’s too expensive to send so many criminals to other jails. The referendum will be on the March 18th ballot.
Watson said food, cars, and medicine are exempt for the tax.