Local Jail Population Increasing

By: Paige Lambrecht
By: Paige Lambrecht

The Marathon County jail doors are opening for more inmates than ever before. One reason may be the rising number of inmates charged with serious offenses.

Marathon County jail administrator Bob Dickman says, "We have an increased number of class A felons in custody and those cases that take longer to prosecute, therefore they're going to be there longer."

The Marathon County jail population has increased ten percent every year for the past four years, but even jail officials say they're not sure what the solution to the problem is.

The county has made efforts to keep the less violent criminals out of jail by using electronic monitoring programs, but some say that won't stop the increasing jail population.

Marathon County Judge Patrick Brady says, "There are certain people in our society that need to be kept off the streets and that's our resource. That's where they go."

Judge Brady points to another solution, a bigger jail.

"There's all kinds of reasons why the jail is becoming crowded. It's clear our jail isn't big enough."

While a bigger jail would cost money, jail administrator Bob Dickman says the alternative isn't much better.

"I'm quite certain this time next year we'll have inmates in other county jails and we'll be paying for that bed space," says Bob.

That would cost about $40 per day per inmate. It's clear several alternatives exist for handling the crowded jail population, but one thing they have in common: they all cost money.

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