Facing Lawsuit, Officials Vote To Close Jail

Oct 6, 2020

The Walworth County Jail entrance in 2015.
Credit Walworth County Sheriff's Office/Facebook

Inmates sued last month to close the Walworth County Jail in Selby, and now the county commissioners are closing it.

Commissioners approved a motion Tuesday to close the jail and transfer all the inmates to other area jails within 30 days.

Experts told county officials in recent years that the 111-year-old jail is outdated and unsafe, but county officials had kept the jail open.

Attorney Jim Leach of Rapid City represents the seven inmates who sued the county.

“We want the jail closed much sooner than 30 days, because it’s a fire hazard in multiple respects, and they have no fire exits," Leach said Tuesday after the commission's vote. "But when the jail is closed, the lawsuit will be concluded.”

The county commissioners tried to build a new jail two years ago. Voters rejected a $10.5 million bond issue.