Salina Overcrowding at the Saline County jail has caused more than a dozen violent incidents in the jail since June 1 and might force the county to begin housing inmates elsewhere, the sheriff said.
Staff and inmates have been injured in the violence and the county might end up paying for medical bills, Sheriff Glen Kochanowski told county commissioners Tuesday during a discussion about forming a jail advisory board.
The Salina Journal reports that the jail housed 233 inmates over the weekend, 41 people over capacity. The juvenile facility also is over capacity.
"When you get that many inmates, you pray a lot that things don't happen," Kochanowski said after the meeting. "You can't classify the inmates properly and do what you need to do. That is why we are having problems."
The overcrowding makes it difficult for the sheriff's office to keep gang members and people involved in the same crimes away from each other, he said.
Area sheriff's offices have offered to house inmates but that can cost up to $150 a day for juveniles and more than $35 a day for adults. He said inmates use to be housed at other facilities before the current jail was built but it's the first time he's considered it in his four terms as sheriff.
The female inmate population jumped from 23 to 33 Monday after the Salina police department concentrated that day on arresting people wanted on warrants.
"We had to take them into the exercise yard because we couldn't book them fast enough," Kochanowski told commissioners.
Kochanowski said he'll try taking away privileges to keep inmates under better control before he houses them elsewhere.
The sheriff is proposing that a community jail advisory commission be formed to discuss the management of the jail, which he said needs to be expanded.
Sheriff's Capt. Rick Hansmann said a similar board was created in 1991 and disbanded in 1995 after the new jail was built. The sheriff said some people who served on that board have already expressed interest in serving on a new board.