The Saline County Commission voted Tuesday to authorize the creation of a pre-trial program, and to allow Community Corrections to accept applications for a pre-trial program coordinator and an officer who will monitor inmates released pending trial.

Community Corrections Director Annie Grevas said the pre-trial program will address jail overcrowding and public safety concerns regarding released inmates, as well as reduce the likelihood that clients commit additional crimes.

The pre-trial program will be developed by Grevas, local judges and the new pre-trial program staff.

The Commission had previously set aside $95,800 for salaries and benefits for these new positions in the 2019 Saline County budget.

 

 

 

A Jail Population Reduction Committee is currently studying options to reduce the number of inmates locked up by Saline County.

During her weekly update, County Administrator Rita Deister said Jim Robertson, a consultant studying overcrowding at the Saline County Jail, has presented updates on several possible options for the Commission to consider: keeping things as they are; converting the existing jail to long-term housing and building a new booking and release center; increasing capacity at the existing jail; or building a jail at a new location that could be more energy efficient.

Commissioner Monte Shadwick expressed concern about Robertson’s recommendations.

“I don’t want this all of a sudden to become a jail building committee, and I really feel like it switched over to doing that really quickly,” he said. “I don’t think we have had time to necessarily see how we can reduce the population.”

Deister said building more housing could lead to additional services that could reduce crime.

“If they are set up with some mental health and some detox beds, it’s going to help reduce the jail population because we are going to get proper treatment instead of just cycling them through,” she said.

The Jail Population Reduction Committee and the Saline County Commission will continue to discuss options for the Saline County Jail in the coming months.

 

 

 

The Commission also approved $16,000 to upgrade software and hardware used by the Saline County Sheriff’s Office to store evidence.