A crowd of about 50 people gathered Tuesday evening for a town hall meeting to discuss the Saline County Jail.
At issue is constant and persistent over crowding. The Saline County Jail has 192 beds. The average daily population increased from 143 inmates in 2008 to 263 in 2017. The Average Length of Stay (ALOS) increased from 8 days in 2008 to 20.4 days in 2017. In 2017, 86 more inmates stayed 91+ days than in 2013.
Saline County Commissioners, county staff, and architecture firm TreanorHL hosted the event. They stressed there is no solution to the problem yet, as officials continue to gather information and encourage public input.
Three main focuses have been identified. They include:
- Jail Programs: Several programs could be implemented, with a goal of decreasing recidivism – inmates who have been released reoffendeing and ending up back in jail.
- Mental Health: 35 percent of the jail population suffers from mental health issues.
- Females: Women are by far the fastest growing jail population.
Officials estimate within 20 years there will need to be space for 424 inmates at the Saline County Jail. They add that a previous estimate from 25 years ago was right on target to what the inmate population is today.
There are multiple infrastructure options which could be considered. They include:
- New Booking and Release Center (offsite) & Remodeling the existing Jail
- New Booking and Release Center (onsite) & Remodeling the existing Jail
- New Greenfield Site
- Potential for alternate options that have not been identified
Information regarding the Saline County Jail project can be found at: http://www.saline.org/Imate-Population-and-Jail-Documentation