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History of the Grant County Jail

The History of the Grant County Jail

Disclaimer: All content regarding the history of the Grant County Jail has been diligently collected by Det. Lt. Matthew Ogden from various resources, including all credited articles throughout the jail history portion. We extend our sincere gratitude to the Marion Public Library, Chronicle-Tribune, Grant County Historical Society, and online resources for their invaluable assistance in documenting our jail history. This is an ongoing project, and further updates will continue to be added. All the information provided is publicly available for anyone to read, including at the Marion Public Library and online resources.

The story of the Grant County Jail is always changing and growing, with new chapters being added as we speak. It's a tale that's still being pieced together, so it's not quite finished yet. From its early days to now, the jail has seen a lot – expansions, renovations, and shifts in how we think about justice. It's been at the center of debates and changes, dealing with things like overcrowding and old facilities. But through it all, it's a story that speaks to the heart of our community's efforts to find fair and effective ways of handling law and order.

Timeline History of the Jail


  • Construction of the first jail in Grant County, Indiana, featuring stone foundation, timber walls, and limited ventilation.
  • Imprisonment for debt affects respectable individuals, reflecting the era's legal practices.


  • Condemnation of the old jail as unsafe in 1864.
  • Commencement of construction for a new jail in 1868.


  • Escapes and jailbreaks reported, alongside overcrowding and poor conditions.
  • Repeated condemnation of the jail due to safety and sanitation concerns.


  • Condemnation of the jail due to size, lack of segregation, and unsanitary conditions.
  • Efforts to maintain cleanliness despite inadequate facilities.
  • Calls for a new jail due to sanitary and legal concerns.

June 17, 1902:

  • Grand jury condemns the jail and recommends construction of a new facility.


  • Ongoing issues with overcrowding, sanitation, and maintenance.
  • Recommendations for improvements like better locking devices and plumbing repairs.


  • Severe deficiencies reported in the jail's condition and management.
  • Recommendations made for immediate inspection and improvements.

January 2, 1974:

  • Response to a grand jury report criticizing jail conditions, citing budget constraints.

June 23, 1976:

  • Proposal for remodeling the jail due to inadequacy.

August 3, 1977:

  • Approval of a new jail site and office complex, signaling a major infrastructure project.

September 7, 1977:

  • Offer of property for a new jail complex.

December 5, 1978:

  • Lawsuit filed against poor jail conditions, coinciding with plans for a new facility.

February 25, 1979:

  • Initiation of construction for a new jail complex.

November 23, 1980:

  • Completion of a modernized jail facility, featuring advanced amenities.

September 5, 1981:

  • Ongoing concerns about overcrowding despite the new facility.

October 8, 1989:

  • Plans for jail expansion due to severe overcrowding.

January 18, 1990:

  • Bids open for jail expansion as population exceeds capacity.

January 23, 1990:

  • Contracts awarded for jail expansion project.

April 5, 1990:

  • Construction begins on the jail expansion project.

April 8, 1991:

  • Completion of jail expansion project with improved facilities.

June 11, 1995:

  • Persistent overcrowding issues despite previous expansions.

August 13, 1995:

  • Contemplation of further jail expansion due to increasing inmate population.

April 24, 1997:

  • Decrease in inmate population attributed to changes in state prison policies.

November 20, 1999:

  • Introduction of credit card bail payments to alleviate overcrowding.

February 21, 2000:

  • Escapes prompt debate over the need for additional jail guards.

November 2, 2002:

  • Delays in trials contribute to overcrowding concerns.

May 24, 2004:

  • Overcrowding persists, raising long-term implications.

October 20, 2004:

  • Financial challenges emerge regarding inmate food expenses.

October 28, 2004:

  • Recommendations for security upgrades face obstacles.

October 29, 2004:

  • Jail consistently over capacity, prompting outside assistance recommendations.

January 27, 2005:

  • Consultants advise against immediate jail construction, recommend efficiency measures.

June 24, 2005:

  • Concerns escalate with potential federal intervention due to persistent overcrowding.

June 28, 2005:

  • Community discussions on potential solutions amid growing concerns.

August 6, 2008:

  • Jail capacity increased, but overcrowding remains a persistent issue.

September 10, 2005:

  • Suspension of privileges like visitation and television due to a series of violent incidents.

December 17, 2005:

  • Introduction of new programs for early release and inmate employment assistance credited with reducing jail population.
  • Persistent overcrowding despite program implementation.

September 23, 2006:

  • Worsening of overcrowding, surpassing average daily population limits.
  • Continuation of efforts to explore solutions to reduce population.

January 23, 2007:

  • ACLU lawsuit filed against Grant County officials regarding overcrowding.

January 31, 2007:

  • ACLU lawsuit gains attention, highlighting ongoing overcrowding issues.

February 7, 2007:

  • Hiring of attorney Michael Morrow to address legal challenges posed by ACLU lawsuit.

February 11, 2007:

  • Inmate Richarh Tyson sues Grant County over jail overcrowding.
  • Implementation of new software for tracking jail trends and processes.

November 13, 2007:

  • Discussion on challenges faced by jail officials, including managing intoxicated inmates and controlling fights.
  • Training and equipping jail officers to handle potentially violent situations.

November 27, 2007:

  • Decrease in jail population attributed to improved weather and criminal justice system efficiency.
  • Emphasis on collaboration among law enforcement agencies to manage population.

December 4, 2007:

  • Discussion on plans for courthouse renovation and new county building construction.

January 10, 2008:

  • Addition of four new officers to address overcrowding and improve working conditions at the jail.

January 13, 2008:

  • Continued discussion on courthouse renovation and security improvements.

August 3, 2008:

  • Population decrease at Grant County Jail due to improved criminal justice system efficiency.

August 28, 2013:

  • Grant County Community Corrections implements strategies to reduce jail incarceration days.

August 13, 2016:

  • Focus on addressing mental health and addiction issues among jail inmates.

February 26, 2017:

  • Persistent overcrowding at Grant County Jail despite previous efforts.
  • Factors contributing to overcrowding include legislative changes and the heroin crisis.

April 29, 2017:

  • Introduction of in-house treatment program for substance abuse to address overcrowding.

May 18, 2017:

  • Need for significant renovations at Grant County Jail and courthouse due to safety concerns.

July 20, 2017:

  • Grant County Council expresses support for jail and courthouse renovations.

August 8, 2017:

  • Committee recommends expanding renovation project to include additional upgrades.

August 25, 2017:

  • Proposal to relocate adult inmates to underutilized juvenile detention center to address overcrowding.

October 19, 2017:

  • Approval of financing for jail renovation project.

October 28, 2017:

  • Clearing of a major hurdle for the renovation project to proceed.

July 10, 2018:

  • Progress on renovation project addressing flooding issues and infrastructure needs.

September 26, 2018:

  • Spike in inmate population leads to increased strain and efforts to manage criminal justice system effectively.

February 12, 2019:

  • Renovation efforts focus on upgrading software and enhancing safety measures at Grant County Jail.

July 5, 2019:

  • Sheriff Reggie Nevels notes a shortage of jail officers due to low pay.
  • Despite recruitment efforts, attrition remains high, posing safety risks.

November 1, 2019:

  • Grant County Jail faces routine overcrowding, straining operations.
  • Options to address overcrowding, including renovation, are hindered by budget constraints.

January 16, 2020:

  • Plans advance to renovate Juvenile Detention Center to ease jail overcrowding.
  • Collaboration seeks funding to address urgent overcrowding issues.

April 9, 2020:

  • Grant County Jail adjusts operations amid COVID-19 to release eligible inmates.
  • Enhanced safety protocols implemented to ensure essential services.

August 20, 2020:

  • Increased expenses anticipated at Grant County Jail due to policy change by Indiana Department of Corrections.
  • Additional allocations approved for jail budget to accommodate rising costs.

June 10, 2021:

  • Grant County Jail undergoes repainting project funded by commissary funds.
  • Maintenance upgrades approved to enhance operational efficiency.

February 22, 2022:

  • Judiciary urges reopening of juvenile detention center to address jail overcrowding.
  • Discussions revolve around finding solutions to reduce inmate population.

September 15, 2023:

  • Joint session confronts uncertain future of deteriorating, overcrowded Grant County Jail.
  • Discussions emphasize need for immediate action and long-term planning.

August 16-18, 2023:

  • County leaders grapple with pressing issue of deteriorating jail and overcrowding.
  • Urgent action needed to address current challenges and plan for future.

September 19, 2023:

  • Sheriff's Office implements measures to release non-violent offenders to alleviate overcrowding.
  • Challenges persist due to staffing shortages and ongoing overcrowding.