Daily Archives: Jan. 28, 2010

New tracking system to be implemented for journal entries

jailpaperworkSedgwick County will begin tracking how long it takes to complete an essential report required before jail inmates can be moved to state prison.

Chief Judge James Fleetwood told members of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, a group charged with reducing the jail’s population, he has asked for the tracking to speed up the completion of journal entries, which are taking 60 to 90 days to be turned into the sheriff’s office.

He is doing so in response to reporting by The Eagle.

Judge Clark Owens said he could have passed a polygraph the day before The Eagle’s story Sunday that journal entries took about a week to complete.

“I had no idea it was an issue,” he said.

Fleetwood said he will tell all judges to order the district attorney’s office to expedite journal entries for inmates awaiting transfer to prison.

Inmates awaiting transfer to state prison make up fastest growing jail population

inmatestransferRecords shared this morning at a meeting of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, a group charged with reducing the population of the Sedgwick County Jail, show that inmates awaiting transfer to state prison made up the fastest-growing population from July to December.

The Eagle reported on Sunday that journal entries — reports required before the jail can transfer an inmate to prison after sentencing — are taking 60 to 90 days to make it back to the sheriff’s office.

On the latest population snapshot of the jail, taken Dec. 17, there were 113 inmates awaiting transfer to prison, or 7 percent of the jail’s population. In July, inmates headed for prison made up 4.6 percent of the jail’s population.

“To be fair, the largest percentage of these are people who are waiting for a journal entry,” Sedgwick County District Court Chief Judge James Fleetwood said.

Inmates facing trial on felony charges make up the jail’s biggest population, 35 percent in December.

Senate Judiciary takes up texting ban

textphoneTOPEKA – The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to tackle a ban on texting while driving this morning.

Senate Bill 351 creates the crime of involuntary manslaughter while texting and bans the use of a handheld wireless device, such as a cell phone, for text messages or emails while driving.

A similar bill has already had a hearing in the House Transportation Committee last week. That bill would create a $100 for texting while driving.

Nineteen states, the District of Columbia and Guam ban text messaging for all drivers, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

“Any action that would reduce driver distractions will result in fewer deaths and injuries on our roads that is the reason we think SB 351 is a good bill,” wrote Warren Chip Woods, president of the Kansas County Highway Association in submitted testimony.

For more read Friday’s Wichita Eagle.