Scott County, Ind., gets new tools to fight its drug problem - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Scott County, Ind., gets new tools to fight its drug problem

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SCOTTSBURG, Ind. (WDRB) - At the Scott County courthouse, officials say new drug cases are filed almost everyday. 

"We primarily see prescription narcotics," Prosecutor Jason Mount said. 

The HIV epidemic centered in the community was largely spread among addicts sharing needles. 

Mount says a new $90,000 grant will go toward a hiring a new prosecutor that will only handle drug crimes. 

"You naturally have a tendency to focus on those cases with victims, and sometimes those drug cases, you can lose focus on those cases," Mount explained. "That's why I felt it's important is to get prosecutors that are only doing the drug cases, so that they can focus on those to make sure we get consistent penalties and significant penalties in those cases." 

The prosecutor's office will expand from four attorneys to five.

And just down the road, the local jail is also getting bigger.

It's an $11.5 million project that's been underway for months, according to Sheriff Dan McClain. 

McClain says right now he has 150 inmates and only 58 beds. 

"We are very overcrowded, so much so that I can't keep all my inmates in my existing facility. So I've got to send inmates out to other counties.

McClain says he hopes to put inmates in this new part of the jail within 30 days. 

It will add 136 beds and more space for programs targeting addiction and mental illness. 

Both prosecutors and the sheriff's office agree that just locking people up won't fix the drug problem. 

"We want to help the folks that have this terrible addiction, but we want to stop the folks that are bringing these drugs into our county," McClain said. 

Once inmates are moved into the new part of the jail, officials will renovate the old part of it. 

Meanwhile, prosecutors hope to offer the new job to a candidate on Friday.

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