Canyon County working on jail tent solutions

Today was an important deadline to fix security issues.

CALDWELL - The Canyon County Jail tent facility has had its share of problems.

This past year more than half a dozen inmates escaped from the facility; and security at the jail has been the subject of finger-pointing between the sheriff and the county commissioners for a long time.

Earlier this year, the Caldwell City Council told the Canyon County Sheriff's Office it had two months to come up with a plan to fix the problems. A deadline that was Friday.

The Canyon County tent facility is currently a minimum custody jail, but the facility could go back to being a work-release facility if something isn’t done to address the security issues.

Last month the sheriff's office filed an application with the Caldwell City Council telling them they were working on a number of improvements to ensure this facility is both safe and secure.

The sheriff’s office can continue to keep using this tent facility as a minimum custody jail because they filed that application.

“We filed that application on February 9th. We have already made some additional security upgrades,” said Canyon County public information officer Joe Decker. “We have hardened the interior wall. We've also added a lid over the kitchen area, which is where at least one of the escapes happened from. So those security measures have already been put in place in the tent facility.”

If the sheriff's office hadn’t filed that application with the city council, and completed the security upgrades, the facility would have reverted to a work-release-only center.

Decker says that would have meant finding housing for the hundreds of inmates now in the tent jail and requiring many inmates to be transported back-and-forth for court proceedings. He says it would have cost close to a million dollars a year.

Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue plans to go before the Caldwell City Council on March 20th to discuss some additional security measures they have planned for the facility.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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