Sunday, August 29, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

Spokane County Jail and GCC announce layoffs

Spokane County Jail and GCC announce layoffs
Published: 06/01/2010

SPOKANE, Wash. - Declining jail population and the need to appropriately balance staffing numbers has led to 10 more layoffs at the Geiger Corrections Center and Spokane County Jail. Capt. John McGrath announced the layoff of 57 detention services employees May 18 th, but that number was increased by 10 Thursday after efforts to close a $1 million shortfall in the 2010 budget remained. "This is a matter of right-sizing our staffing given the reduced number of inmates we are seeing this year," McGrath reported. "We continue to try to run the most efficient facilities for the taxpayer." The 10 employees, eight at Geiger Corrections and two at the downtown jail, were notified Thursday evening that their jobs would end July 16 th. "This is an incredibly hard thing to have to do, and it isn't pretty," McGrath said in a memo to Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and corrections staff Thursday. "It's as low as we can get and still operate the two sites safely." The captain said he will have to continue to review the budget and jail population on a month-by-month basis to see if other changes become necessary.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spokane County Jail vote delay changes PR needs

Spokane County Jail vote delay changes PR needs

Commissioners may need to extend contract after moving bond to April ballot
John Craig
The Spokesman-Review link
Spokane County commissioners realized Tuesday they may need to extend a jail project public relations contract they haven’t yet signed.

Chairman Mark Richard called that “a little bit frustrating.” Nevertheless, Richard wanted to press ahead with the contract.

Citing last week’s surprise discovery that the city of Spokane is thinking about building its own misdemeanor jail, Richard didn’t want to wait “a minute longer” to get some professional public relations help.

Every “hiccup” like last week’s can confuse voters and cause them to vote against a county bond measure to build a replacement for the Geiger Corrections Center, Richard said.

The contract glitch results from commissioners’ decision to place a bond measure before voters next April instead of during the November general election as originally planned.

They authorized staff last week to negotiate a six-month, $62,500 contract with Gallatin Public Affairs, a regional firm that plans to use Spokane-based Tobby Hatley and Associates as a subcontractor. A mid-May start was envisoned.
But sheriff’s Lt. Mike Sparber, the jail project manager, reminded commissioners Tuesday that a six-month contract would expire about five months before the election.

Richard said he didn’t yet have an appetite for what he described as the $100,000 “full meal deal.”
He thought a public information campaign should stop well before the election, anyway. Other groups should handle bond measure advocacy after Gallatin publicizes the facts, Richard suggested.

Commissioner Todd Mielke proposed delaying the start of the Gallatin campaign so Spokane and Spokane County officials can work out their positions before any fliers are printed.

“The dialogue that we need to have with the city of Spokane is significant and may affect the outcome,” Mielke said.
Still, he took Richard’s point about the need to deal with hiccups.

With Commissioner Bonnie Mager absent, Richard and Mielke called for staff members to see what could be worked out with Gallatin.

Eric Williams, a principal in Gallatin, said in an interview that there had been no discussion of extending the contract from six to 11 months.

“I guess I’ll wait till I hear from the folks at the county, but we’re more than willing to sit down and have a discussion with them about it,” Williams said. “We’re eager to get started working with them.”

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rock County Jail Reverses Overcrowding Problems

Some Inmates Receive Non-Traditional Sentences

Updated: 7:34 pm PDT March 23, 2010  Link

Overcrowding had been an issue at the Rock County Jail in recent years, but measures taken by the courts and the Rock County Sheriff's Office seem to have reversed the problem.In just four years, the county jail has gone from filling every inch of space to having space available.New programs are saving the county money, and housing fewer inmates could create revenue in the near future, WISC-TV reported.Until recently, it was rare to see empty beds in the Rock County Jail."

The overall population is down to levels we haven't seen in years," said Rock County Sheriff Robert Spoden.
About one in three people in custody of the Sheriff's Office have received non-traditional sentences. Officials said it's a complete change in philosophy."Three years ago, we were shipping people out of county. We were averaging anywhere between 60 to 70 people on a daily basis that we were housing in other counties. We had people sleeping on the floor," said Spoden.About 95 people are monitored by bracelets -- outside the jail."

The county jail should be for those people that are dangerous to the community. What we have found is, there are a lot of people who end up in our county jail that are there for driving offenses, petty misdemeanors," said Commander Tom Gehl, the jail's administrator.Other offenders participate in the Workender program, doing service projects on weekends."They're really, I believe, the future of corrections for low-risk offenders," said Spoden.Instead of shipping inmates to other facilities, Rock County is now considering renting some of its 100 available beds to other counties.

"Obviously, if we can bring in some revenue for the county, especially considering that Rock County has suffered a lot of economic setbacks, that's going to be good," said Spoden.Officials said it costs $12 a day to operate a bracelet to monitor an inmate. The county saves the $65 per day it would cost to house the inmate in jail.Officials say they will continue to monitor and track crime rates and trends to try to predict inmate populations in the future."What had been a crisis is now turning around where we have open beds and open cells," said Spoden.Dane County's jail is in the same situation.

It currently has about 100 fewer inmates in the jail than this time last year, WISC-TV reported.Officials said diversion programs there have been steady, but other steps to become more efficient, including monthly reviews with probation and parole staff, as well as the courts moving quicker on some hearings, have helped keep the population down.