Metro Jail Population Management
Nature of Jail Crowding
While developing effective responses to issues related to jail crowding typically rates as one of the top concerns of city and county governments across the country, jail crowding is not a new phenomenon. Efforts to respond to jail over-population can be traced back to the 1980’s and have resulted in a body of knowledge that now spans three decades. The jail population is ultimately determined by two variables:
Number of bookings (jail admissions); and
Average length of stay (average period of incarceration)
Since both variables can be heavily influenced by the police, courts and the legislature, jail crowding is best understood as the result of policy decisions made across the entire criminal justice system; it is not created solely by the action of any one entity. Jail crowding is therefore not a correctional problem, but rather a system problem and jail population management strategies must be tailored to the needs of the individual jurisdiction. Experience in responding to jail crowding has also demonstrated that jail crowding is not a problem to solve, but rather a condition to manage. Since jail crowding represents the complex interplay of local and state policies and practices, there are unfortunately, no quick fixes or “silver bullets.” Effective population management strategies are based upon ongoing data analysis, systemic approaches and coordinated policy development.
While maintaining public safety is the ultimate goal, strategies used to alleviate crowding can take several forms including diversion opportunities or providing alternatives to incarceration (non-jail options) such as electronic monitoring or Day Reporting Centers; implementing measures to improve system efficiency, such as expedited case processing; and increasing the number of jail beds. It should also be noted that in the absence of agreed upon policy regarding how finite jail resources will be used, jails tend to be capacity-driven such that empty space will always be filled.
For more information and a historical reivew of local jail population management efforts click here.
Role of Jail Policy Committee
With public safety as the number one goal, the current Jail Policy Committee provides a neutral forum for system stakeholders to meet on a regular basis to discuss issues related to the jail population. The committee is charged with using data to monitor the jail population; analyze trends and identify points of intervention; recommend changes in policy and practice to promote effective jail population management; and oversee the implementation of those recommendations.
The committee consists on representatives from key criminal justice disciplines and agencies at the local and state level as well as individuals with expertise in the field of corrections and community residents.
Jail Policy Membership List
Tom Wine – Co-Chair, Commonwealth’s Attorney
Leo Smith – Co-Chair, Jefferson County Public Defender
Judge Brian Edwards, Chief Judge, Jefferson Circuit Court
Judge Anne Haynie, Chief Judge, Jefferson District Court
Judge Tara Hagerty, Chief Judge, Jefferson Family Court
David Nicholson, Jefferson Circuit Court Clerk
Michael O’Connell, Jefferson County Attorney
David Musacchio, Community Leader
Dwayne Clark, Director, Metro Corrections Department
Chief Steve Conrad, Louisville Metro Police
Councilman Brent Ackerson, Louisville Metro Council
Tara Blair, Administrative Office of the Courts, Pretrial Services
John Rees, Community Leader
Carla Kreitman, Chief Court Administrator
Saulette Davis, AFSCME
Tracy Dotson, FOP Lodge 77
Cathy Duncan, Louisville Metro Facilities Department
Nicolai Jilek, River City FOP Lodge 614
Meeting Dates/Meeting Summary
*Meeting summaries are posted once approved by the committee