Scott County Jail Statistics

Statistic Impact Point
The longest time an inmate can be sentenced to the Scott County Jail is one year.

People don't stay in jail forever - and jail sentences are much shorter than prison sentences. With very few exceptions, everyone in the Scott County Jail will be back in Scott County very quickly. Jails are very different from prisons.

The number of people booked at the Scott County Jail more than doubled from 1994 to 2000. In 2002, there were about 7,500 jail bookings - about one every hour and 10 minutes. As a central booking agency for all law enforcement agencies in Scott County, the jail has to handle a large number of people. Jail bookings are not rare events. There are a lot of people who pass through the Scott County Jail.
Half of jail inmates are 30 years old or older. People often think that only young men are at risk of being arrested. Mandatory sentencing has changed all that. As the population of the county and nation has gotten older, the jail population has aged also. People who think that the requirements for jail space will go down just because the population of the County and nation is aging have failed to consider the impact of legislative and social change.
Women account for 20% of people booked. One of the fastest growing segments of jail and prison populations is the female offender population. Leaving aside the potential that some of this is caused by social change, it's clear that mandatory sentencing plays a role in this change. The problem for Scott County is that the current facility does not provide adequate space for female offenders.
About 15% of people who are arrested are released in 4 hours or less - and about 66% are released in 48 hours.

People think - intuitively, but incorrectly - that when someone is arrested they will be gone for a long time. For most people, that isn't true. People are back in the community very quickly.

The "flip side" of this is that the 33% of people who stay longer than 48 hours tend to stay in jail for long periods of time. Only 5% of people who are booked stay longer than 60 days - but this group of people use more than half of all the jail bed space that is used. This is the population that the system needs to do something about to keep on managing the jail population.

In May of 2002, 232 people were in jail.

The jail can only legally hold 208-212 inmates; the difference in capacity comes from how the holding cells in booking can be used.

Scott County has had to board more inmates out this year - and given the number of serious felons in custody now, there is little indication that this will stop in the near future.

81% were pretrial detainees Pretrial detainees have not been convicted of anything. As a result, the idea that punishment is the main reason why people go to jail isn't true in Scott County. Pretrial detainees are held in jail if bond is not permitted (because of the seriousness of their crime), because they do not have the financial resources to make a cash or property bond, or because they are considered too high a risk of flight if released through pretrial release.
85% of people booked at the jail live in Iowa; 77% live in Scott County. Scott and Rock Island County account for 85% of all bookings. These are generally not strangers; the people in this jail live in Scott County and the Quad Cities. When they get released from jail, they are not going elsewhere - they are generally going back to their homes.
About 25% are unemployed at the time they are arrested; about 15% are unskilled laborers. This population has no way of sustaining itself when released without relying on either friends, family, social service agencies - or resuming a criminal lifestyle.
The average number of times that a person was booked into the jail in 2000 was 1.33. 60% indicated that they had been booked at this jail before. Right now, the Scott County Jail is operating something like a revolving door. These statistics are measures of recidivism - about one-third of all people arrested are back in jail within the year - and 60% of all people had been in this jail previously. More than two-thirds of those who said they had been in jail before had been jail in the last two years. This would suggest that recidivism is high at the Scott County Jail. And this is only the Scott County Jail - not all jails.
About 25% of people who were booked at the jail were charged with felonies; the rest were charged with misdemeanor offenses. Misdemeanor offenses result in short sentences. While people charged with aggravated and serious misdemeanors can be sent to prison, their sentences are short - two years or less. With good time, they can often be back in the community in less than a year.
The most common reason why people are arrested and booked at the jail is because they have failed to appear in court - most often they were on unsupervised probation. While the initial charge may not have been a particularly serious offense, in the long-term, these people have a significant impact because they use a disproportionate amount of law enforcement, prosecution, judicial and jail resources. They also typically do not pay back the community for the harm that they have done.
46% of all people booked are released on bond. Release on bond is the most common way people get out of jail. About half of the bond releases are as a result of pretrial release.
About 4% of people booked are sent to prison. The perception that everyone booked at the jail ends up going to prison is not accurate; the justice system deals with most people who are booked at the jail through a wide variety of sanctions.