QUEENSBURY — A backlog of criminal cases in Warren County’s court system appears to be to blame for a jail overcrowding problem earlier this year.
That was the report from the county Sheriff’s Office this week, as county supervisors got an update on why the county jail population surged over its capacity in June, for the first time in the facility’s history.
The county Sheriff’s Office had to turn away revenue from boarding for other agencies’ inmates and nearly forced the county to board some of its own inmates at another facility.
The jail had never before been full in its 14-year history, and having to turn away boarded inmates will have an impact on anticipated revenue.
Other counties in the region were not seeing the same surge, and a state jail population analysis showed a drop in statewide numbers year-to-year for the same period.
Arrest numbers did not seem to have risen enough to cause the increase.
State statistics for 2017 showed just a slight increase in arrests in the county.
Warren County Sheriff Bud York said a higher number of unsentenced inmates who were awaiting disposition of their cases seemed to play a big part in the increase, although no specific courts were cited.
He said Warren County District Attorney Jason Carusone was working with the court system to try to find a way to move cases along.
“There were a lot of people backed up in the courts,” York said. “We’re trying to do things to move them along quicker.”
Carusone said there seemed to be a number of factors playing a part in the jail population surge and his office was working with the Sheriff’s Office to look into the problem.
“We have been made aware of it and are trying to determine what the causes are,” he said.
Warren County Undersheriff Shawn Lamouree said an apparent increase in judges giving weekend sentences, as well as short jail stints for drug court violations, had pushed numbers up as well. The 184-bed jail had 13 weekenders coming in for one recent weekend, he said.
York said the numbers have dropped in recent weeks, and the Sheriff’s Office has been able to resume bringing in federal prisoners for revenue.