Jail's daily population decreases

The average daily population of inmates in the custody of the Sedgwick County Jail through November fell by nearly 100 compared with the same period last year.

Sedgwick County Manager William Buchanan gave commissioners his monthly update on the criminal justice system Wednesday. His report said the average daily population from January through November was 1,649 in 2009 and 1,567 for the same time period this year.

The number of days inmates stayed in jail also dropped, contributing to the decrease in the average daily population. The average length of stay in 2009 through November was 17.4 days. The average this year through November was 16 days, Buchanan said.

More people are using alternative programs such as day reporting and pretrial services, Buchanan's report shows. The county has focused on using alternative programs to reduce the jail's population. Officials say the fees the county has charged cities for housing defendants on municipal charges also has helped decrease the population.

In November 2009, 223 people were in the day reporting program; this year, 277 were. The number of defendants in pretrial services increased from 251 in November 2009 to 288 this November.

Drug court participants jumped from 54 last November to 104 this November.

Also affecting the numbers is a reduction in how long it's taking to file journal entries, reports required before a defendant is transferred from jail to state prison.

The Eagle reported in January that was processing the reports was taking 60 to 90 days.

In response to the story, the county began tracking how long journal entries were taking to be filed. Journal entries not completed within 30 days are flagged.

The county also hired a third full-time staff member to help with the reports.

The county's goal is to have inmates moved to state prison within 18 days. The average time from May to October was 14.5 days, Buchanan said.