Monday, April 8, 2013
The Harvey County jail is almost at maximum capacity. If they reach their limit they'll have to send inmates to other counties for the first time in the jail's history.
One hundred and forty-five, that is the absolute maximum number of inmates the Harvey County Jail can house and they aren't far away from hitting that number.
“This weekend our count did reach 140. That's the highest that it's ever been since I've been at the jail almost five years,” Lt. Scott Van Horn said.
Once the jail's population reaches 145, they'll have no choice but to send some inmates to nearby counties.
"We've never had to do that in the past and that's something that we'd rather not do. We'd rather keep everything in house,” Lt. Van Horn said.
That's because the jail is already understaffed. If they have to worry about transporting inmates to and from other counties for their court dates, they'll have even fewer hands inside the overcrowded jail.
"That takes people off the road here in our county or it takes people out of the detention center and we're just not staffed for it,” Lt. Van Horn said.
Lt. Van Horn tells us the jail's population has been steadily growing over the past few years. So what's the cause behind the rising number of inmates? The simple answer is they really don't know. The sheriff's office hasn't seen a dramatic rise in crime, just more people being brought to the jail.
"That's basically what's going on, they're fighting crime and bringing people in and we encourage them to do that. It's just whether or not can we house all the people they bring into the facility,” Lt. Van Horn said.