Douglas County to hear information on modular cells as possible solution to jail overcrowding

photo by: Mike Yoder

Douglas County Jail

Douglas County Undersheriff Gary Bunting will provide county commissioners on Wednesday with information on the cost of installing portable, modular cell units at the county jail and will discuss the pros and cons of their use in addressing overcrowding.

Last month, Bunting shared with commissioners an Aug. 2 snapshot of the county’s inmate population that revealed that it had 244 people incarcerated on that one day, or 58 more people than the jail’s 186-bed capacity. The number was very similar to a Feb. 2 snapshot that counted 246 inmates. The earlier snapshot was released during the campaign for Proposition 1, which would have funded a $44 million jail expansion. County voters rejected that ballot initiative in May.

Bunting said in September that one solution could involve the installation of portable, modular cell units at the jail. However, he said that such units might not be the best solution to overcrowding and asked for a few more weeks to flesh out all the details involved with using and staffing modular cells.

Bunting did not provide commissioners with an advance report for Wednesday’s meeting, nor did he return calls from the Journal-World concerning his presentation.

Assistant County Administrator Sarah Plinsky said she had worked with the sheriff’s office to help develop cost estimates for modular units and that Bunting would share cost estimates and the pros and cons of installing them. Plinsky said she had not seen the final cost figures that the sheriff’s office had developed for modular units.

The County Commission set aside $3 million for solutions to jail overcrowding in the 2019 budget. That money could be used for modular units if the sheriff’s office recommends them.

The Douglas County Commission is scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St. To view the commission’s complete agenda, visit


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