Team to study solutions for overcrowded jail

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Associated Press

Posted on February 7, 2013 at 3:02 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A team of tech-savvy professionals will use technology and data to study problems with overcrowding at the Metro Louisville jail and recommend possible solutions.

The Courier-Journal (http://cjky.it/V1an55) reports Louisville is one of 10 cities chosen to participate in a national initiative in which people with Code For America, a nonprofit fellowship, create online applications in an effort to make governments more open and efficient.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced on Wednesday that the team of "geeks" will study different aspects of the Jefferson County justice system over the next month and collect data "to help us see, identify, understand and evaluate our problem and the potential solutions that come with it."

The newspaper reports help with the justice system is needed because overcrowding has been a problem at the facility for several years.

Code for America, which is called the "Peace Corps for Geeks," was founded in 2009 and is based in San Francisco.

One of the 2013 fellows from the program, Laura Meixell, said the team has noticed after being in town for only a few days that the paper-based system that's used means some "systems that still can't talk to each other," such as police, clerks or jail staff.

"What we are going to be looking for are areas where increased communication is going to help with efficiency and can help get folks through the system in the most expedient and fairest way," she said.

Jail spokeswoman Kelly Feiock said more than half of the inmates are awaiting trial on charges.

"I'm not sure all of those people have crimes that warrant them being in jail," she said. "It's dangerous."

Fischer said after the Code for America team studies the system, it would spend about six months designing and testing applications to help. He said he expects the city to implement the applications later this year and for other communities to adopt them in the future.

"This will really be a tremendous project not only for our city but our country as well," Fischer said.

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Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com

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