Danville Sheriff would like to see jail expanded

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DANVILLE (WSLS 10) - The Danville City Jail was, as of Monday, 13 percent over capacity and 70 percent of the inmates were serving a sentence.

While that's not ideal, Sheriff Mike Mondul said it's better than it was a couple of years ago when the jail had 355 inmates even though it's only rated for 213.

"We literally had people on mattresses sleeping almost on top of one another in the jail cells," Mondul recalled.

Still, even being just 13 percent over capacity poses safety concerns.

"Having more space, more opportunities to place people, it keeps them safe," Sheriff Mondul emphasized. "It reduces the risk of inmate injuries. Reduces deputy injuries and increases deputy safety."

He said informal discussions about the issue have been ongoing for a while between the sheriff's office and city council, but he's hopeful this new study, which looked at space needs for dozens of city departments, will help begin a more formal conversation.

Mondul would like to see the current jail expanded rather than build a new, stand-alone facility because the current jail is directly underneath the courthouse which keeps deputies and the public safer when inmates are being taken to and from court.

Danville Mayor John Gilstrap said city council is working on developing a long-range plan to address the space needs of all departments.

"We've thought about the money; where's the money going to come from. We've even thought 'if there's a tax increase, how much would a tax increase be.' But, we certainly haven't reached any conclusion," Gilstrap explained.

But, the police department also needs some major upgrades, especially when it comes to security, and Gilstrap said that may take priority over everything else.

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