Debate over the future of the Canyon County jail ignites after fourth escape

After the fourth escape in less than a year, county and city officials are looking for a solution.

CALDWELL -- Concerns about security are on the rise after two inmates escaped from the Canyon County jail Saturday night.
 
Jeffrey Duval and Juan Cervantes were back in custody Tuesday after climbing a wall to get to a fire escape door, knocking it down and running away.
 
It's the fourth escape from the jail in less than a year.
 
Canyon County commissioners met with Caldwell city leaders at Monday night's City Council meeting to debate a possible jail expansion, a plan that has been denied in the past.Commissioners had appealed the decision by the City of Caldwell, which rejected Canyon County's application for a special permit to expand the jail.
 
After hours of public testimony, the city council voted 5-1 to uphold the original decision to deny the Canyon County Jail expansion plan. 
 
County commissioner Tom Dale says the jail tent was never meant to house offenders like Cervantes and Duval. Dale says he would like to see the county build a new jail rather than expand.
 
"In conversations with the jail commander today, he told me that this addition, this Band-Aid, would be maxed out the first week it's opened," he said. "That does not take into consideration the future."
 
While commissioners are trying to address the future, security remains as the pressing issue at the tent facility.
 
In order to address this, Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue suggested putting a chain link fence over the top of the recreation area until a permanent plan can be agreed upon.
 
Donahue also proposed this idea after the third escape.
 
He says getting price quotes and plans are still in the works but that commissioners haven't approved it yet because they want to know how much it will cost.
 
Canyon County commissioner Craig Hanson says that is the wrong answer.
 
"That is a wrong process. That is a wrong answer," he said. "In fact, I would say what we probably need to do is just not house inmates over there of those caliber if that's the kind of situation that we're dealing with."
 
Donahue says that is doesn't matter how much it will cost, that something needs to be done to protect the community.
 

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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