Sheriff not impressed with commissioner’s ideas for jail

Sedgwick County Sheriff Robert Hinshaw said a plan that commissioner Gwen Welshimer unveiled today about the jail lacks innovation and new ideas.

Hinshaw also expressed concern that Welshimer did not talk to him about her ideas for the future of the jail.

“I would think since I’m charged by law to run the jail she would also want to have my input,” Hinshaw told The Eagle this afternoon.

Hinshaw also is chairman of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, a group charged with coming up with solutions to jail overcrowding. Welshimer serves on the council, as do judges, prosecutors, Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams and others involved in the criminal justice system.

Hinshaw said he asked Welshimer last week if the CJCC could assist her with her plan, and she declined help.

Welshimer said she was not surprised by the sheriff’s reaction to her plan.

Welshimer told her fellow board members that she has worked on the plan for a few months. It includes:

–Expanded pre-trial services and drug and mental health courts.

–Remote booking stations, which would reduce the number of people waiting in the booking section of the jail.

–Expanding mental health treatment. But Welshimer said the jail should not be a provider of psychiatric care.

–Adding a jail liaison who would work for commissioners.

–Using jail fees to operate expanded mental health services.

Read more about the issue in Thursday’s Eagle.