Daily Archives: Sept. 15, 2009

Sheriff talks about jail overcrowding

At today’s Sedgwick County commission meeting with staff, Sheriff Robert Hinshaw shared statistics about the jail’s population, saying the number of inmates the sheriff’s office is dealing with is approaching “crisis mode.”

Commissioners have been talking for years about how to deal with overcrowding at the jail. They approved a jail expansion but last year opted not to proceed to give taxpayers some property tax relief.

Commissioners also have been discussing building a new work release center to lower the number of inmates at the jail.

Hinshaw said programs such as work release have helped slow the growth of the jail’s population, but he noted the number of inmates still is rising. And he also told the board today that the largest group of inmates at the jail are people who have committed felony crimes.

Commissioners are waiting for recommendations from Justice Concepts Inc., a consultant group hired last year to study ways to reduce the jail’s population. Justice Concepts’ 10-month contract ended in June.

Your new “Chili Potentate”: Commissioner Tim Norton

Sedgwick County commissioner Tim Norton will be this year’s “Chili Potentate” at the annual downtown chili cookoff Sept. 26. Norton wore a green bead necklace with a chili pepper pendant to today’s commission meeting with county staff and passed out cards about the cookoff, which includes his recipe for “Norton’s Tornado Chili.”

Mayor defends Sister Cities trip to France

WICHITA — Facing criticism of City Council member Janet Miller’s planned Sister Cities trip to Paris, Mayor Carl Brewer launched a long defense, saying that such trips can draw business to the city.

Brewer’s response today comes after Bob Weeks, a local blogger who has pressed the city on the issue, called the International Sister Cities Conference a “junket” that the city should not pay for in a tough economic climate.

“Even in good budget times, I would argue these trips should be avoided,” Weeks told council members this morning.

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