Sheriff, County Waiting On DOC Contracts For Prisoners

Johnson County Sheriff Steve Kozisek

Johnson County's Commissioners and Sheriff Steve Kozisek are waiting on contracts from the State Department of Corrections so they can review them to determine if it would be in the county's best interest to enter into a contract to house state and Federal prisoners at the county detention center.

Sheriff Kozisek updated the commissioners on the status of the possible agreement at their most recent meeting, saying although he has not received the contracts, he expected them any day.
He also told the commissioners he had performed a cost/revenue analysis for taking in prisoners based on numbers of prisoners and their different circumstances.

Deputy County Attorney Barry Crago, who has voiced concerns over parts of the contract that appeared would not protect the county in the event an inmate filed a civil liberties lawsuit, said he had discussed the matter with the State Attorney General's (AG) Office.

The AG's Office told him the contract was standard, and none of the other counties have ever had problems with frivolous lawsuits by inmates. Also, if an inmate did file a frivolous suit, the state would probably be named as a co-defendant anyway, so the county would not likely be fighting a legal battle by themselves.
However, the AG's Office did say if there was a complaint by an inmate found to be legitimate, the county would be fighting the suit on their own, which is why they wanted that stipulation left in the contract.

Crago said after discussing the issues with the AG, he understood their position but was still concerned to a degree.
He said he didn't think they would change the contract.

He told the commissioners it essentially becomes a business decision between them and the sheriff and that they are under no obligation to take prisoners in the future. If the agreement becomes an issue for the county, they can just refuse to take them.

The sheriff and county commissioners will hold on a decision until after they review the contracts from the state.