Johnson County still dealing with jail overcrowding - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Johnson County still dealing with jail overcrowding

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) - "I think the big issue still facing Johnson County is what we're going to do about the jail issue," said Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek in an interview Tuesday.

The issue is a steadily increasing average number of jail inmates. The Sheriff's 2009 Annual report shows that the jail has gained an average of 20 inmates on a daily basis, since 2007. Adding to the problem is higher spending on inmate transfers.

"We're spending over a million dollars a year to send inmates out-of-county," said Pulkrabek.

But he says the county is seeing some potential savings, because of last year's agreement with Marshall County to house some of Johnson County's inmates. It's helped with the logistics of moving inmates back and forth.

"Before, when you're housing them at the bordering counties, you're making at least one trip a day to each one."

Pulkrabek says the problem of overcrowding isn't being caused by more new inmates, but existing ones waiting their day in the courtroom.

"What we're holding onto is people who are a danger to society," he explained. "The judges tell us they're dangers to society, and so they want to put a bond on them and have us hold onto them."

He added that the issue of Iowa's court system furloughs aren't helping matters, as fewer state workers could slow things even more.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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