County commissioners take quarterly tour of jail, hear about inmate population

YORK – The York County Commissioners took their quarterly tour of the county jail this week, as is required every three months.

During that tour, which was conducted by York County Sheriff Paul Vrbka, they talked about the inmate population.

Jailers told the county commissioners the inmate population, in the county jail, right at that moment was approximately 28. The jail will hold 35 people but jail staff and the sheriff’s department try to keep the population around 30 so there are always available beds should someone be arrested at any given minute.

When the inmate population goes over 30, they make arrangements to house some inmates in other locations. The county holds agreements with several other counties for housing York County inmates.

“We have started up the work release program again,” Sheriff Vrbka told the commissioners. “That stopped during COVID and we are now getting that up and running again. So if we have an inmate who is going to be here six months or so, and they have a job or can get one, they can apply for work release.”

During work release, inmates are allowed to leave the jail in order to go straight to work, complete their shift and come straight back to jail. They are required to sleep at the jail and spend all other hours in the jail, when they are not working. And while they are at work, they are still considered to be in custody.

“And we are always in contact with the jail director, at all times, to help keep the facility from being too overcrowded,” said York County Attorney Gary Olson. “We communicate a lot and we are doing the best we can” to keep the inmate numbers manageable and as low as possible.

“And there are situations, such as if we arrest a person who has a horribly violent criminal history, in which we will reach out to Lincoln to see if those types of dangerous inmates can be housed elsewhere, for the safety of other inmates and our staff,” Sheriff Vrbka said. “Those larger facilities are better equipped to handle inmates such as that.”

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