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St. Clair County Sheriff Warns of Early Releases from Overcrowded Jail

Kevin Killeen
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St. Clair County Jail in Belleville, Illinois (KMOX/Brad Choat)

St. Clair County Jail in Belleville, Illinois (KMOX/Brad Choat)

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KMOX) – Dangerous prisoners being released early because of overcrowding at the county jail prompts St. Clair County Sheriff Rick Watson to ask voters for help.

“Some of these violent offenders get released,” Watson said, “They get released on ankle bracelets and things like this, but they should really be here.”

Watson says the jail with its current capacity of 418 prisoners is sometimes housing as many as 550, prompting tight conditions, fights and danger to corrections officers.

“I had a corrections officer injured the other week,” Watson said.

To solve the problem, Watson is asking voters to support a quarter-cent sales tax on the March ballot. Money raised, he said, would pay for a $37 million expansion of the jail to boost capacity to 685 prisoners.

Copyright KMOX

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