The Justice Matters' Mental Health Research Committee will be meeting with County Administrator Craig Weinaug to explore plans for the Crisis Stabilization Center and Douglas County Jail Expansion.
This meeting is open to anyone serving on the Justice Matters' Mental Health Research Committee, clergy, Team or Justice Network Members. The discussion will be led by a member from the Mental Health Steering Committee who has prepared our approach prior to the meeting. Justice Matters' members are encouraged to read the Douglas County Jail and Crisis Stabilization Center Needs Reports before the meeting.
Questions that were developed and given to the County Administrator prior to this meeting include:
Douglas County Needs Report: Jail Needs Report Questions:
At least two alternative Specialty Courts were reviewed (Bexar County’s Magistrate Court and Fayette County Mental Health Court). What general approach or individual components are being most considered at this time for implementation in Douglas County?
In the under Existing Conditions section it states, “Local officials feel that some offenders who are in jail, especially traffic violators and drunk drivers, should not be in jail. A lack of a crisis center and detoxification capability for addicts impacts the jail population. Anyone who is brought to the jail by local law enforcement is processed. The State law requires incarceration of first time OUI offenders, but they do not need to be housed in a high security facility.”
- Which local officials have stated traffic violators and drunk drivers should not be in jail?
- The Crisis Center Needs Report indicates potential detox services will be provided, how will this reduce the needed jail capacity?
- Is the processing of anyone brought to the jail by local law enforcement a legal requirement? Does this suggest the need for a pre-emptive intercept prior to arrival at the jail in certain cases?
- Regarding the implications from the last statement regarding OUI offenders: does not having the need for a high security facility provide opportunities for an alternative?
In the Douglas County Needs Report: Jail Needs under “Existing Conditions” section, first paragraph it states, “Work release females are being housed the medium housing this can cause contraband coming into the secure portion of the facility.” Did the author mean to say, “Work release females are being housed in the medium housing pod; this can cause contraband coming into the secure portion of the facility.”?
In the Douglas County Needs Report: Jail Needs under the “Classification” section, first paragraph it states: “Some minor offenders can be much more difficult to manage that a murder who may be very passive.” Did the author mean to say, “Some minor offenders can be much more difficult to manage than a murderer, who may be very passive.”
The report repeatedly lifts up the proven benefits of natural lighting for those suffering from mental illness both in a Crisis Stabilization Facility and jail. What studies in particular is the author relying on when making these claims, and what benefits (e.g., swift recovery, lowered recidivism, etc.) are cited?
What is a varied cell unit?
What does a Step Down classification mean?
The Introduction to Douglas County Jail & Mental Health Court Study states the needs assessment conducted in 1995 “called for 228 beds by 2015” and “Due to aggressive re-entry and other programs initiated when the facility opened and since, the inmate population has seen slower growth than originally predicted in this needs assessment.” The Douglas County Needs Report: Jail Needs states, “The projected average daily population for 2015 was 178, the actual average daily population is 220.” Which is correct?
More General Questions regarding the Jail Expansion/Modifications:
During a tour of the jail done by Justice Matters’ leaders in January, 2015, the “medical pod” was reportedly underused and proved not to be an essential part of the originally forecasted jail needs. Is there a more effective use for this space planned during modifications?
What is the recidivism rate among substance abuse users brought to the jail? The Crisis Stabilization Center Needs Report indicated a potential detox program, has that program’s impact been included in the projected jail needs?
Beyond reducing the nonviolent jail population with mental health needs, what other alternatives has the County considered to reduce the need for jail expansion?
The Treanor Justice website indicates the Douglas County jail was built to provide a secured environment with 196 beds available. The Spatial Allocations table of the Douglas County Needs Report indicates an additional 126 beds are necessary for an overall increase in scale at 64%. Is that correct?
How was the original jail financed by the county and under what terms? Will they expire soon?
In 1995, when Treanor Architecture completed the original needs assessment, when did they project a need to increase capacity? When do we foresee a necessary increase in capacity after the proposed expansion?
The number of inmates in the county jail climbed dramatically beginning in June up to 190 to 200+ after five months of hovering around 150. Why they dramatic increase?
Not included in the document given to Craig Weinaug:
The Crisis Stabilization Center originated as part of the discussion related to the Jail Expansion project. Has a mixed financing strategy for the Crisis Stabilization Center been considered? Discussions in the community have involved potential financing for the construction or operational costs from the Bert Nash Endowment, the Lawrence Memorial Hospital, City of Lawrence budgets.