One challenge to reducing — or even stabilizing — the Sedgwick County Jail population is that decisions at the state level can work against those efforts. For example, Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Davis said last week that state courts will have to close their doors for one week each month beginning in February if the Legislature doesn’t restore $8 million to the judiciary budget. If that happens, it could slow trials and hearings and increase the time some inmates stay in the jail. The state also is increasing the penalties for repeat drunken driving starting next July, which could result in an annual increase of about 3,700 bed days in the jail. State cuts to some mental health services and to programs aimed at helping parolees integrate into society also may lead to more inmates.
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