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District attorney's office to hire third staffer to handle journal entries

Sedgwick County will hire a third staff person to handle journal entries for jail inmates headed to prison.

The Wichita Eagle reported in January that journal entries — paperwork required before an inmate can be transferred to prison that includes criminal history and sentencing information — were taking an average 60 to 90 days to be filed. That meant jail inmates were staying in jail weeks after their sentencing to prison, further affecting jail overcrowding.

In response to the story, Sedgwick County District Court Chief Judge James Fleetwood met with other judges to try to reduce the turnaround time by making sure prosecutors know the reports are a priority. The district attorney’s office is now taking about two weeks to write the reports. By adding a third staff person, the office believes it can complete the reports in about a week.

Last year, the sheriff’s office transferred 1,023 inmates to prison. The county has estimated that each day an inmate remains in the custody of the jail while awaiting a journal entry costs the county about $38. The county has estimated that each day the 1,023 inmates last year waited at the jail to be transferred to prison cost the county $38,874.

The cost of adding a staff person would be about $45,737 a year, including benefits.

Commissioners voted unanimously to fund the position.