CALDWELL - What to do about the tent facility at the Canyon County Jail -- it's become a big issue after four escapes within the past year.
County commissioners talked about it today and one responded directly to what Sheriff Kieran Donahue said in a news conference Wednesday when the sheriff called out two commissioners for what he sees as a failure to act on the issue.
Commissioner Craig Hanson said the sheriff needs to use resources he has to prevent escapes.
"When Sheriff Donahue goes out to the press and does a rant saying the commissioners need to do their job, the one thing the commissioners have been doing is trying to do their job," said Hanson.
The sheriff had harsh words for the commissioners Wednesday.
"Let’s grow up, do your job,” said Donahue. “If you're mad at the sheriff for any number of issues, be mad at the sheriff. If you're mad at Commissioner Dale, if you're mad at incoming Commissioner White, if you're mad at the voters, be mad, but do your job."
Sheriff Donahue also said the commissioners refuse to spend the money to enhance security at the tent facility. But Hanson says that money doesn’t need to be spent and that it's how the sheriff is running the jail.
"I think things are going on in that jail that the sheriff wants to blow out of proportion and continue to blame everybody else,” said Hanson. “Quit blaming everybody else, quit blaming the commissioners that you don't have a facility. We've tried multiple times before he was even working in the county, we've tried."
"We don't have any more deputies to just send over there,” said Donahue. “We could possibly entertain the thoughts of taking people off patrol put them over there, but then there's no one to respond to car wrecks or robberies."
"I would tell the sheriff maybe he should look at himself and do his job,” said Hanson. “Quit blaming everybody else and saying he doesn't have the staff."
Despite the finger pointing, the two sides were able to agree on one thing today, the tent needs to be used for the work release program.
"For individuals to go out to work daily and come back again, not as a facility to house violent offenders, and that's what happened," said Hanson.
"I think the most significant thing that happened is it seems like most of the players, if you will, elected officials, certainly the board of county commissioners this was their meeting, but I think we're what we can say is we're moving in the same direction right, uniformity of that which is a good step in the right direction in my opinion," said Donahue.
Even though they all agree this needs to return to a work release facility, how they're going to get it back to that state still needs to be figured out.
There’s no clear timeline on when this is going to happen because of all the different variables.
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