Sedgwick County commissioner this morning asked county manager William Buchanan to draft a job description for someone who would be in charge of analyzing who is in jail and what “bottlenecks” exist that contribute to overcrowding at the facility.
Welshimer reiterated again that she is not willing to add on to or build a new jail, saying it’s an “if you build it, they will come” dilemma.
Welshimer said sufficient information is lacking about inmates to determine who might be eligible for alternative programs to jail.
She would like to hire a jail “liaison” who would work with commissioners about the jail’s population.
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Welshimer, who is running for re-election, has made the criminal justice system, particularly the jail, one of her major campaign issues.
Sheriff Robert Hinshaw oversees the jail.
Commissioner Dave Unruh said statistics on the jail’s population that show slower growth indicate to him that alternative programs such as day reporting, drug court and work release are helping.
Unruh said he would need to see justification to add an employee who would monitor the jail’s population. He said at this time, the county appears to be doing a good job managing the inmate population through alternative programs. He said he didn’t think adding personnel was necessary.
Welshimer said every additional estimate costs the county $68 a day to house. The savings of keeping people out of jail would cover the cost of a salary, she said.