LINCOLN, Neb. — Lancaster County officials are creating a program to reduce the number of repeat offenders booked into the county jail.

An analysis of the more than 6,300 people in Lancaster County Jail in 2017 found that more than half were there for their first or second time.

But almost 50 people who were booked into the Lancaster County Jail last year had been in the jail at least 20 times in the last five years, the Lincoln Journal Star reported . Sometimes individuals aren’t book for new crimes, but for failing to appear in court for previous charges.

One man has been jailed more than 130 times over the past 20 years. The 45-year-old is an alcoholic and a transient, said Brad Johnson, jail director. He’s been charged with nuisance crimes and assault-type behavior, Johnson said.

The county’s Community Corrections program is working on a recidivism program that will focus on reducing the number of 18- to 24-year-old men who return to jail. The program will prioritize men living in high poverty neighborhoods.

“The re-arrest rate for this group is really high nationally. And our jail reflects that as well,” said Kim Etherton, the executive director of Community Corrections.

About one-fifth of the more than 570 people in jail on a recent Friday fell within that category, according to records.

The program has received a three-year $1 million grant from the federal Department of Justice, she said.

The program aims to get men out of custody within six weeks and into treatment programs, Etherton said. It will likely begin in the summer or fall.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com