MARINETTE — The population of the Marinette County Jail continued to decline in 2019 with an average daily census for the year of 110, the lowest level since it averaged 106 in 2011, Jail Administrator Bob Majewski told fellow members of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee on Friday.

“I think in part it has to with the alcohol monitoring and drug court and mental health court programs that are helping keep the population to stay down,” Majewski said. “We averaged 120 the year before and four years ago, it was 125. It’s good to see that number down.”

In December of 2019, the jail census averaged 98, compared to 120 in the same month in 2018 and 108 in 2017, and the lowest average for that month since 89 in 2011.

Sheriff Jerry Sauve said the jail had 20 inmates on Soberlink alcohol monitoring last week.

“We have seen a rise in the inmates in jail that have serious mental health issues,” Majewski said. “They are a handful for the staff to try to manage. It would sure be nice if there was something in place where the processes to get those type of people what they need would be quicker.

“We are keeping the community safe, but it is hard to help those individuals in the jail,” he added. “Some of them don’t even know they need help. It’s very taxing on the staff to manage those.”

The committee discussed the status of several programs despite not having a quorum at Friday’s meeting.

n Majewski reported that there are currently are about 15 participants in the Drug Court, about five less than what has been said to be its capacity.

District Attorney DeShea Morrow, a member of the committee, said the Drug Court task force is hoping that a case manager to assist Sara Plansky-Pecor, coordinator of the Drug Court, will be hired soon.

Health and Human Services Director Robin Elsner announced in November the county had received a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Justice that will enable the program to hire a case manager that will allow the capacity of the program to be expanded.

The county board was scheduled to vote today on whether to approve the hiring of a case manager for the program.

“It would be great to give her some help,” said Morrow, who said Plansky-Pecor’s duties include paperwork to verify the number of hours participants are working and if they’re doing their community service and treatments as required.

n Majewski said the Mental Health Court currently has six participants.

“They’re all in step 2,” he said. “Like anything else, we’ve had ups and downs in them as they’re trying to redirect their lives.”

Majewski said the task force for the Mental Health Court has been meeting every week, explaining that “one week we’ll have court and the next week we’ll work on our processes, because we’ve been seeing some holes there.”

n Joseph Moser, inmate education and programs sergeant, reported that in 2019, 102 GED tests were administered in the jail with 84 receiving a passing score for an overall success rate of 82 percent.

“We had 19 individuals complete their GED while incarcerated in 2019,” he said. “Since the inception of the program, 219 individuals have completed their GEDs while incarcerated in the jail.”

Moser announced that NWTC instructor Gary Johnson, who has played a major role in the success of the GED program at the jail, retired in December.

“Over Gary’s tenure he played a major role in the 219 individuals who completed their GEDs,” Moser said. “We appreciated Gary’s dedication and commitment to his work, the students and the community during his time with NWTC and in our facility.”

Moser said “we look forward to the continued success of the jail program with NWTC instructor Amanda Meissner, who will be taking over Gary’s role. We have the utmost confidence in Amanda and look forward to her continued work in our facility.”