After a $25 million jail bond failed to pass in Twin Falls County this November, the county commissioners are scrambling for a solution to jail overcrowding. On Monday morning, a submittee tasked with brainstorming options presented its recommendations to the comissioners.
About 80 inmates regularly sleep on the floor of the jail because there aren’t enough beds. The commissioners said getting people off the floor is the "number one priority."
The November bond would have added more than 300 beds in modular units at the Snake River Juvenile Detention Center in the city because the site of the current jail is not zoned for a large expansion. But now that the bond has failed, the county is considering adding a few modular units at the Twin Falls County Jail as a temporary fix.
Each stainless steel modular unit constructed by All Detainment Solutions LLC, a Missour-based company, would cost roughly $613,175. The county would purchase three or four units, which house 39 inmates each. Four units would allow all inmates to sleep in beds off the floor; three may not. But the county still has to figure out if the city would approve four units on the property based on zoning regulations.
Commissioner Don Hall said passing a bond at some point may be necessary for a more permanent solution.
The commissioners brought up Ada County, which is asking a judge to hold the Idaho Department of Correction accountable because it says the county jail is housing inmates who are in state custody.
Twin Falls County Jail Captain Doug Hughes said the state also pays Twin Falls County to house its inmates, which is contributing to the overcrowding. Hughes said the number varies day to day, but last Friday, 61 state inmates were in Twin Falls County Jail.
Hall said if the county did not house as many state inmates, it would go a long way to solving the capacity issues in the jail.
Idaho Department of Correction did not respond to a request for comment by our publication deadline. Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen
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