York County Jail continues to be beyond capacity

YORK – The York County Jail continues to be beyond capacity, a trend that has been ongoing for three years now.

And York County Corrections Director Nic Marsden says he doesn’t see that trend slowing soon, if ever.

Tuesday morning, the York County Commissioners took their quarterly tour of the facility, as is required by Nebraska Jail Standards. Marsden informed them the jail was so full at that point, five people were going to have to be transferred immediately to other facilities.

What that meant is that by the end of Tuesday, York County would have 30 inmates in the local jail with 24 having to be housed elsewhere.

Marsden said the majority of out-flow York County inmates were currently being held in Platte County, although the county has paid to house inmates in Butler, Merrick and Seward County, as well as with the state prison system when warranted.

While the commissioners were on their tour, it was noted the holding cells (typically used for temporary situations such as in the occasions of DUI arrests, as an example) were full as well. That was mostly due to the fact all the female beds were occupied, Marsden said.

Marsden added there has been a rise in the number of females being arrested.

Of the five transfers scheduled to take place Tuesday, three of those inmates were female.

In the past year or two, the commissioners have lamented the high cost of housing inmates in other locations, despite the fact they have negotiated lower rates with most of the surrounding counties.

During a recent meeting of the county board, Deputy York County Attorney Christopher Johnson said there is a noticeable increase in crime in York and York County. That statement was also backed up by the fact a record number of people in York County were involved in the probation and problem solving court systems.

Marsden candidly told the commissioners there is and will continue to be a real need for a new or expanded jail. Granted, there are issues such as location and finances.

He also noted the price of a new jail, in today’s calculations, comes to about $100,000 to accommodate space and services per inmate housed. In other words, to accommodate 100 inmates, it would cost $10 million to build. Granted, if the county had a larger jail, they could also bring in revenue by holding flow-over inmates from other counties.

There are currently no active plans or agendas about looking at a new jail, but it continues to be a topic of discussion as the number of locally-held inmates continues to rise.


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