Princeton, NJ: (Jul-05-07) A class action lawsuit was filed against Gibson County in the US Southern Indiana District Court in Evansville in 2003 by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union (ICLU), alleging that the jail, with a rated capacity of 109 beds, consistently operates well over the rated bed capacity. The suit claimed that according to an Indiana Department of Corrections June 2002 inspection report, the jail is overcrowded 80% of the time and is insufficiently staffed.
The four year old class action dispute reached a settlement when Gibson County Commissioners agreed to end the case, stating that a new work release center will be completed this year, and the jail capacity will be 137 beds in maximum security with 120 work release beds and eight detox units. Provisions allow the jail population to exceed 137 inmates in certain circumstances, but also calls for notification and reduction. The settlement also calls for adding one additional staff member to the jail. The agreement did not include payments to plaintiffs other than a November, 2004 payment of $13,000 for attorney fees and costs as part of a stipulation that the case would head toward private settlement rather than plaintiffs seeking a preliminary injunction. [TRISTATE MEDIA: OVERCROWDED JAIL]