BEATRICE – Gage County citizens may not like the idea of paying for a new jail, but paying to hold prisoners in other jurisdictions is no picnic, either.
According to a jail report, Gage County spent over $47,600 for holding of prisoners in outside jail facilities, in just the first three months of this year. In 2016, the county spent over $151,000. Gage County’s Jail can hold up to 30 prisoners, but the daily count has sometimes approached 45 to 50.
Gage County Board Chairman Myron Dorn says counties are required to serve as a holding place for persons sentenced to up to one year. A potential state change could increase that to two years….and that has counties concerned about the effect on jail populations.
County Attorney Roger Harris says changes at the state level are putting pressure on local governments.
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Changes in sentencing laws have added budget pressure to adequately fund state probation.
Harris said law enforcement sees a significant number of defendants who are repeat offenders.
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County Board member Matt Bauman feels crime problems can often be traced to a lack of direction within families.
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Harris says having a drug court in southeast Nebraska has helped out. It has a better than 80% success rate in helping to address problems with drug addiction.