In its first report to the Douglas County Commission, the Douglas County Corrections Council advised commissioners to provide a minimum security building soon to help alleviate overcrowding at the jail.
"We are in a crisis situation," Douglas County Dist. Atty. Jerry Wells told commissioners, citing recent jail populations as high as 95 prisoners. The jail's capacity is 52.
Wells spoke for the cooperative committee, which is composed of law enforcement officials representing every level of the legal process, from police to judges. The committee is charged with solving chronic overcrowding at the Douglas County Jail.
Crowding will only worsen, Wells said.
"As of July 1, new sentencing guidelines take effect. . . . Those charged with crimes will go more often to trial, which means they'll be in jail longer."
About 15 to 20 inmates leave the facility daily on a work-release program but must sleep in the jail at night. The consensus of the committee, Wells said, was that a separate minimum security facility would serve the work-release program and reduce jail populations.
The committee recommended hiring an architect who could advise members about structural requirements.
Before they will hire an architect, however, commissioners said they would like the committee to prepare a specific list of questions that it needs an architect to answer.
County Administrator Craig Weinaug said he would place the item on the agenda again in two to three weeks.
In other action Monday, commissioners directed staff to schedule a public hearing soon about a proposed nuisance ordinance.
Commissioner Jim Chappell had asked Bob Fairchild, county counsel, to draft a resolution that would allow county officials to stop chronic nuisances in the county.
Fairchild presented the commission a rough draft of a resolution that defines a nuisance as "anything which is dangerous to or violates the health, morals, peace or welfare of the citizens of Douglas County."
"This particular proposal is one of 10 million you can come up with," Fairchild said.