In a two-part editorial this week, I wrote about the overcrowding problems facing the Sedgwick County Jail.
A team of consultants from Wichita State University recently told the County Commission that under present trends, jail space would have to double by 2020 â€” an expensive proposition.
But â€” echoing a previous consultant hired in 2004 â€” they argued that costly new jail construction can be avoided by implementing alternatives to incarceration for low-risk inmates, such as mental health and drug counseling, work centers, and traffic detention centers.
These “get smart on crime” ideas are well worth exploring further, although Sheriff Gary Steed likely is right that even with the alternatives, we need extra bed space now.
Still, as County Commission Chairman Dave Unruh told the editorial board, we can continue to lock up low-risk offenders â€” but are taxpayers willing to pay for it?
Posted by Randy Scholfield
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