New jail population coordinator hired to reduce inmate numbers
PIMA COUNTY, ARIZ. — Pima County’s continuing efforts to safely lower its jail population received a boost March 11 with the addition of Mike Steber to the Sheriff’s Department’s corrections staff as jail population coordinator.
“Sheriff Napier and his team deserve a great deal of credit for taking this bold and innovative step,” County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said. “I believe this will go a long way to making the Corrections Center a safer place and will ensure a more efficient use of taxpayers’ money.”
As Jail Population Coordinator, Steber will review the jail’s roster and case management system continuously to look for individuals incarcerated for non-violent offenses who corrections officials believe, once released, will be unlikely to miss scheduled court appearances.
The Sheriff’s Department created the new post to identify inmates who can be released safely while waiting for their court hearings.
“My job is to not only make Pima County a safer place but to also ensure that we are spending taxpayer funds appropriately,” said Sheriff Mark Napier. “Part of achieving both is ensuring that the right people are incarcerated in our jail for the right reasons. This will reduce costs and keep our county safer.”
Steber will consult with the County Attorney’s Office, Public Defenders, Adult Probation and other partner agencies to find inmates who have shown a willingness to seek counseling or treatment for substance abuse or mental illness or who may be able to take advantage of a change in circumstances such as offers of housing and support from family or social service agencies.
“We don’t want repeat business,” PCSD Chief Deputy Byron Gwaltney said. “In my experience, many people do better and are less likely to re-offend if they remain connected to the community and the social services available on the outside.”
Steber will report to the corrections staff and work to spot trends that will help keep jail population to a minimum while ensuring public safety. Steber is also charged with researching programs that aid in keeping the overall jail population down, such as Pima County Justice Court’s monthly Warrant Resolution Night Court events.
Funding for the coordinator position will come from the County’s General Fund through the budget for the Criminal Justice Reform Unit.