Jail population shows slight decline - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Jail population shows slight decline

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

The inmate population at the Dougherty County Jail is going down, and that's saving taxpayers money. Sheriff Kevin Sproul talked to county commissioners today about ways he's working to keep people out of jail.

That includes interventions with at-risk young people in a program that could soon get national attention. The numbers speak for themselves. The average population behind bars at the Dougherty County jail decreased 9% last year. In 2011 the average daily number of inmates was 917. Last year, it dropped to 826.

 "We had a summit last year so to speak, we brought all the key players into it. We discussed ways of working out sentence agreements, reducing sentences if we had to where they could, when there was non violent crimes involved," said Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul.

And that's good news for taxpayers. "We're very pleased to see the reduction in jail inmates. That means of course that the cost of the citizens of this community is going down. And we believe that is due to the way he operates the jail but of course it's also due to the way the district attorney and the courts are handling jail inmates as well," Said Dougherty County Commissioner Gloria Gaines.

During his annual report, Sheriff Sproul told commissioners that their work could make national television. Two executive producers from A&E's Beyond Scared Straight are coming on Thursday to observe an intervention with six to eight at risk young people. "If they like what they see they're coming back at the end of April to do a real live taping of it. They made the comment that they've been all over the country and have never seen a Sheriff himself, or herself, do an intervention. And they were intrigued by that. But that's part of my background. I enjoy doing that. Anything we can do to keep a kid out of jail."

And the Sheriff and his team are doing more interventions. They're up more than 37 percent from 2011 to 2012. But Sproul says this also plays a part in reducing the inmate population. "We feel that working with our youth in our community, doing so many prevention intervention programs, we're keeping them from entering the doors of our jail in the first -place so they don't become recidivists," Sproul said.

And Sheriff Sproul says they'll continue working with the youth and other agencies to keep the number of inmates down. The interventions are a service the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office provides to any at risk teens in the county.

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