Jones County officials warn of jail overcrowding.

For the last several months, the Jones County Jail has been packed with criminals who have committed serious crimes, leaving the criminals committing petty crimes out at large owing thousands of dollars in fines.

After 11 weeks in office, Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodge says he cracking down on crime, but he says with his department making so many arrests, housing has become a problem at the county jail.

"Our jail was too small when it was built in 1995 with 144 beds," said Hodge. "We average about 165 down there at anytime. We are sending prisoners to Jasper and Wayne County, paying other counties to house our inmates on us. It cost us to transport them. We feel that it will be a very good opportunity for us right to seek and build a large jail."

Hodge says he's hoping to make the current jail the central location for the sheriff's department.

"I've met with all the justice judges and they are very much in behind in what we are trying to do. What we would like to do is put them in same facility with us. We have the sheriff's department, justice court building - all at the current jail facility. There is room enough to expand the jail and add the new sheriff's department there."