Jail study presented to Canyon County commissioners

An analysis of the jail was done for the county.

CALDWELL - Jail overcrowding in Canyon County has been an issue KTVB has been following for almost 10 years.

Sheriff Kieran Donahue is calling it a crisis.

Over the last four months, the DLR Group, who specializes in jail design and studies, has been interviewing deputies, counting inmates, and walking the jail. It was all a part of their need analysis.

They presented that analysis on Thursday to the public as well as county commissioners.

The study that was done to determine what Canyon County would need to help, not only with the current jail overcrowding, but what they would need to ensure the jail was viable at least for the foreseeable future.

Their study showed that It would take about another 300 beds to help alleviate the overcrowding issue at the county jail.  A number that would only help with today's population.

The group also showed that one of the days they counted 255 people who were not in jail that should be in jail because they don't meet the sheriff's office risk assessment.

To give you an idea, currently, there are 477 beds in the Canyon County Jail.

The DLR Group says in order for the jail to operate as it should, with the current population, there should be nearly 800.

"Definitely a demand and a need right now and then you need a plan for the future. You don't want to build just for the immediate because as soon as it opens you're going to have additional needs. So being able to plan for an appropriate horizon, which what were looking at is a 10- to 20-year horizon depending on the growth," Bill Valdez with DLR group said.

The group says to meet the needs of the community for the next 20 years and avoid a situation the county is currently in, they would need a jail that could house 1,044 inmates.

They built a blueprint of what that new jail would look like and estimated it could cost about $200 million to build.

"We're ins crisis situation in our jail space. We've got people out there on the street that should be in jail awaiting sentencing or whatever. We can't just continue to catch and release," Canyon County Commissioner Tom Dale said.

Commissioners say they would have to ask voters to approve a 20-year bond to fund the new facility. They anticipate that would raise property taxes about $130 per $100,000 in property value.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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