St. Clair County renovation issue fails, more inmates to be rele -

St. Clair County renovation issue fails, more inmates to be released Thursday

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

( — St. Clair county voters made it clear they do not want to pay more taxes to renovate the jail.

That means another round of inmates will be released tomorrow to help ease overcrowding.

Sheriff Richard Watson says voters will likely pay one way or another.

The sheriff is expecting a visit from the state Thursday and he says state leaders could mandate the jail make repairs because of its poor condition.

That could mean more improvements than the county planned, which in the end could be more costly to the tax payer.

Watson says the state has not cracked down on his jail yet, but its coming.

“Not only are we overcrowded, but the jail is deteriorating,” he said. In a walkthrough, News 4 reporters saw firsthand places that in the jail that are literally rotting- in the bathrooms, kitchen and even the hallways.

There are so many extra inmates, that the gym is now a holding cell.

To help with overcrowding, Watson is letting some inmates go on Thursday; a decision he says he had to make to keep the jail functional.  

On Tuesday, voters turned down a .25 percent sales tax increase for public safety, which would have funded a $37 million jail project.  

Watson says the only way to fund the project is through tax money, and the best way to avoid adding another load on property owners is to keep fighting for his original plan. 

The sheriff tells me he will start having informational meetings so people will be able to understand how much money is needed and exactly where it will be going. 

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