Jail Overcrowding

By: KAKE News
By: KAKE News

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As the inmate population grows out of control, Sedgwick County Commissioners consider paying thousands of tax dollars for a new study to solve the problem of overcrowding.

The Sedgwick County jail currently has 1,032 beds but usually has an average of 1,500 inmates.

At the Sedgwick County jail they're simply out of space, and with the population growing every month they're running out of options.

Sheriff Gary Steed says a new study will help them decide where they need to expand whether they need more beds for work release, low or high security, or male or female inmates.

The study will also help to figure out how and where to build. There's space on the west side by the old railroad bed, and the jail was built with the option of expansion. They could add two towers on the north end or they could build an entirely new jail at another spot.

But it's not a matter of simply adding new bed space, you must have facilities to support it. Those facilities include visitation areas to support the additional inmates and additional medical areas Steed says.

Sheriff Steed says overcrowing is a complex and costly problem. That's why they need to start solving it right away.

But even if they study is approved it could be awhile before they see any relief. It's a long process and it could be years before construction actually starts.

They study would cost $71,500, with the money coming from Capitol improvement program.

Commissioners will make their decision on Wednesday.


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