Sedgwick County doesn't want — and won't pay for — a consultant's report on whether it would make sense to house inmates in closed state prison facilities in Butler and Labette counties.
Public safety director Bob Lamkey has told Justice Concepts Inc. that the county "no longer considers the long-promised Labette/Butler analysis of any material value to the county."
For not turning in the report, Justice Concepts is out $7,200.
The county's relationship with the Kansas City firm it hired in August 2008 to reduce the jail's population has soured in recent months. Commissioners voted last month to cut ties with the consultants, Nancy Insco and Allen Beck, who didn't meet the goals of their $124,616 contract. Insco and Beck had asked for an extension until May 31 to finish the contract, which expired last June.
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Although the county declined, it gave Justice Concepts the go-ahead to finish any work in progress, including the report on the Butler and Labette facilities. Justice Concepts said it would finish that report by April 19 but did not turn it in. Attempts to reach Insco were unsuccessful.
"It is my task to also advise you that Sedgwick County, having not received the aforementioned analysis report on April 19 . . . will not provide any compensation for work or time spent by Justice Concepts for travel, research or other preparatory activities pursuant to conducting or completing said report," Lamkey said in the April 29 letter, obtained by The Eagle.
Justice Concepts' agreement with the county called for a 25 percent reduction in the jail's population, which Insco and Beck later said was an unrealistic goal. The firm didn't meet it.
The county has paid the consultants $78,449 of their contract and approved an additional $28,511 last year for work outside the scope of the contract.
Lamkey said in April that the county's relationship with Justice Concepts had become "unsustainable." He said the consultants had helped expand pre-trial services but said there also had been "some disappointments," particularly about the timeliness of accomplishments and reports.
In addition, e-mails obtained by The Eagle showed that Insco had referred to a Sedgwick County official as "Mr. CYA" and wrote an e-mail that the sheriff called deceptive. CYA stands for "cover your ass."
The county has prepared a report showing how many times Justice Concepts had promised to have the Labette and Butler report finished and how many times the county requested its completion. At a meeting last June, Insco told commissioners the report about Labette was on her computer at work.
Commissioner Dave Unruh said Monday that not paying for the report was the right thing to do.
"I think that we've been more than patient and more than generous in establishing a time frame," he said.
Commissioner Gwen Welshimer, who consistently voiced support for Justice Concepts, said she was fine with the decision not to pay because the report "was never of use anyway because the sheriff refused to consider" the facilities in Labette and Butler counties.
Sheriff Robert Hinshaw said he had concerns about operating a satellite jail in other counties. He and his deputies, he said, don't have jurisdiction in other counties. Sedgwick County does house inmates in other Kansas counties, but it does so under a contract that makes the sheriff's office in that county responsible for the inmates.
"I'm the sheriff of Sedgwick County and that's where my jurisdiction ends. I'm not sure she ever completely grasped that," he said of Welshimer.
He said it would have been difficult to be responsible for inmates in another county if it operated as a satellite jail.
He said the Butler County honor camp, part of El Dorado Correctional Facility, had more potential than the closed facility in Labette County because of its closer proximity.