Iowa City

This is a recorded a conference call with Jessica Peckover, Jail Alternatives Administrator, for Johnson County, IA. It was facilitated by the Justice Matters' Jail Alternatives Research Committee on Monday, December 4, 2017.

During the call, Ms. Peckover described the 17-year journey taken by their county to address overcrowding in their jail. After a series of reforms, they went from an average daily population of 180 inmates in jail in 2007 to an average of 93 inmates in jail today.

During the call, she described:

  • how three ballot measures failed to pass that would have expanded their jail due to the voters' commitment to maximize alternatives
  • how failed ballot measures prompted key players to, "collaborate, collaborate, collaborate" in a system-wide effort to prevent anyone who wasn't a flight or safety risk from ending up in jail, and
  • their newest endeavor - to build an urgent care campus that will increase diversion before officers before jail (also known as a "Crisis Center)

Though Johnson County, IA has a bigger county population and an older, smaller jail, many of the concepts shared by Jessica relate to the discussion in Douglas County, KS:

  • major college town
  • jail overcrowding leading to inmates being farmed out to neighboring jails
  • a strong desire among advocates to prevent people from ending up in jail,
  • 40+ million dollar jail expansion proposals, etc.

If you have questions about this recording or the Justice Matters' Mental Health or Jail Alternative Research Committee, please feel free to contact Ben MacConnell: