A proposal has been made to the Winnebago County Board to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the current jail and possible future needs. Sheriff John Matz will be the speaker at the next League of Women Voters lunch, Wednesday, July 11. He will talk about several factors that have led to that proposal. A few examples include jail overcrowding issues, fluctuating inmate population numbers and characteristics of those inmates. Many alternatives to incarceration programs are already in place. A few fairly well known examples coordinated through the District Attorney’s office include the Drug Court, Safe Streets Treatment Options Program and the Teen Court.  In addition the staff at the jail monitors the Huber work release program and provides electronic monitoring programs for well over 100 persons who are eligible and are able to continue to reside in the community.

Also proposed is a 20 year jail forecast broken down into 5 year increments. In essence, the assessment will help with strategic planning for meeting future needs. Certainly on the back burner is the question of whether or not building modification will be necessary. The study is not all about jail expansion, but that may come up after careful study of what type of housing needs are projected in future years. If safety of staff and inmates is adversely affected by overcrowding, adequate space to segregate the inmates in a fashion that maintains that safety may be necessary.

The lunch is held at the Primo Restaurant, 2605 Jackson St. in Oshkosh. The program begins shortly after noon, so if you plan to have lunch, please arrive by 11:50 a.m. to place your order. Interested members of the public are welcome to attend this program.  No advance registration is necessary. Audience questions and discussion are encouraged.

Contact Ann Marshall at 920-231-8002 for more information about the luncheon or to learn more about the League of Women Voters of Winnebago County.


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