Subscribe for 33¢ / day
Lancaster County Jail

The Lancaster County Department of Corrections on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.

Journal Star file photo

Many Lancaster County Jail inmates know their way around the place — they are not first-timers.

On Friday, the 572 inmates in the local jail had been booked into the jail an average of 11 times, according to jail records.

The average numbers are a little misleading, says Brad Johnson, jail director.  There are also many people in jail for their first time.

In fact more than half of people jailed are in Lancaster County Corrections for their first or second time, based on an analysis of the 6,307 people jailed in 2017.

But one man in the county jail on Friday was in for the 132nd time in 20 years. Those so-called frequent flyers distort that average.

The 45-year-old man is an alcoholic, a transient whose crimes range from trespassing to consuming in public, and failure to appear to assault, said Johnson.

He has been charged with a lot of nuisance type crimes, and some assault-type of behavior, said Johnson.

Johnson provided jail numbers and trends last week during the quarterly corrections meeting with the Lancaster County Board, which also acts as the Board of Corrections. 

Though 132 visits to the county jail is exceptionally high, there are a number of individuals — alcoholics and transients in many cases — who see the inside of the county jail more times than most.

Almost 50 people who were booked into the county jail last year had been in the jail at least 20 times in the previous five years, Johnson said.

Sometimes people are not booked on new crimes, but on failure to appear in court for previous crimes.  

Inmates on Friday had been in jail an average of four times for failure to appear, based on the latest report. 

The county’s Community Corrections program is designing a project to help with recidivism, specifically to reduce the number of 18- to 24- year-old men who end up back in jail.

About one-fifth of the more than 572 people in jail on Friday were young men, under age 25. A three-year, $1 million grant from the federal Department of Justice will target that age group, giving priority to men living in high poverty neighborhoods in the county, said Kim Etherton, executive director of Community Corrections.

The goal of the program, which will likely begin in the summer or fall, will be to get the young men out of custody within six weeks and begin treatment programs and to provide services they need — including employment support and education — to establish a stable environment, she said.

"The re-arrest rate for this group is really high nationally. And our jail reflects that as well," she sai

Reach the writer at 402-473-7250 or nhicks@journalstar.com

On Twitter @LJSNancyHicks.

Reporter

Nancy Hicks reports on Lincoln city government, but she’s been following the leaders of local and state government for more than 40 years.

Load comments