As jail stays last longer, officials renew plea for more manpower


There were 166 inmates being housed on a recent afternoon at the Hancock County Jail. Officials say the average daily population has consistently been above the jail's bed capacity in recent weeks. (Tom Russo/Daily Reporter)

Hancock County Jail staff members have moved cots into cells and common areas to help alleviate space concerns. A 2013 report indicates inmates are being booked in at a faster rate than they are being released. (Tom Russo/Daily Reporter)

GREENFIELD — From the outside, the Hancock County Jail looks like a quiet place.

Faces peer from tiny windows as people come and go from the adjoining sheriff’s department, and for most passersby, that’s as much contact with an inmate as they’ll ever have.

But there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to managing the facility’s residents, and officials say the effort has stretched resources dangerously thin.

The debate over manpower at the jail is not a new one. Hancock County Council members who control the purse strings say while the need for more staff might be there, the funding is not.

The issue has risen again with the release of the department’s annual jail report, which details the previous year’s jail operations and makes note of current needs. According to the 2013 report, which was recently provided to the council, scofflaws are being booked in at a faster rate than they’re being released, causing the jail’s population to swell despite the fact book-ins have leveled off in recent years.

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