Tracking code caldwell guardian

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Canyon County Concerned Citizens Meet on Jail

This past week a group of Concerned Citizens of Canyon County met at the Nampa Public Library to discuss the cost and necessity of a $198MM jail project.  The meeting was held on the 7th of December at the Nampa Public Library and had an excellent turnout.

It was generally agreed more jail beds are needed but not at a cost of $198MM.  The group consisted of citizens along with current and former elected officials of Canyon County, Caldwell and Nampa.

It was brought out previous polling at our County Fair disclosed citizens did not want to see a jail built out on the Notus Hwy. 20/26 property, their overwhelming choice of a jail site is at the Courthouse Campus.  Also, there was some concern why the addition to the current jail proposed by Comm. Steve Rule was not pursued after the no vote on a special use permit by the Caldwell CIty Council.  The costs to taxpayers along with the eventual absorption of property around the current Courthouse Campus would be negatively impacted if the County would not be allowed to grow in place without Caldwell issuing special use permits for future expansion efforts.

Debt service would mean $132/$100k of net taxable value for 20 years.  The expansion proposal made by Comm. Rule would have cost $13MM and would have come from existing fund balances.  (There is some disagreement on how much is there for this purpose.)  At any rate $13MM is a lot less than $198MM. The impact of $198MM on taxpayers along with other pressing needs for schools, water and sewage treatment (Nampa is looking at $200MM to comply with the Clean Water Act) and other cash intensive projects makes the $198MM jail project unworkable for most taxpayers.

Also discussed was the lack of multiple RFP's for a jail project. Why $250K was spent on this study when there are already studies on jail needs in the County files left a lot of unanswered questions on the table.

I was asked by the group to be Co-Chairman along with former Canyon County Comm. Kathy Alder.  We have taken on the task of delving into a series of questions raised at the jail meeting. A board of directors of this group is also in the formation stages.

More on this as information becomes available.


  1. I have been told by Nampa legal attorney that bidding is not required on service contracts and is how Nampa got around the recent $3 million contact to upgrade their computer software. A loophole in the law which needs to be fixed.

    1. 67-2320 is the section of the law that allows them to get around the bidding process for "professional services". I have to admit, I read it several times and my head was spinning. I removed the section about competitive bidding. Also noted is the increase from $10K to $25K for professional services since I last read this section of the Idaho Code.

  2. I am not certain why there is a need for a new jail when the picture on the previous post shows lots and lots of free space. It's jail, not a work camp.

    Our military serves in much worse conditions then this and that seems to be 100% acceptable.

    The work release tent needs to go away and Sheriff Donahue needs to stop releasing inmates (escaped) to justify a new jail. Along with the Sheriff, we should also be fortunate to rid ourselves of the commissioners and a few judges as well. They all seem to believe that jail means coddle the law breakers when in fact it should mean strict discipline Military style, or worse. Make it so people won't want to offend and brought back.

  3. I got some information from a close friend who has researched the average jail beds per 1,000 people. The national average is 2.34 beds. The DLR Group came up with 3.35 beds per 1,000 people with their 1055 bed jail. Canyon County jail now has 477 beds for a ratio of 2.27 beds per 1,000 people in the county using a population number of 210K people.

    The problem as I understand it is having beds for the right classification of inmate. Dormitory beds for low level offenders and cells for the real bad boys and girls. Also in the mix are inmates that require Protective Custody, such as sex offenders and others who might fall into the need for PC status detention.

  4. Instead of all this nit-picking, nickel and dime spending on the tent, why not just build a good secure building. It sounds to me like a good portion of the people do not like the 20/26 plan, and like the existing site plan. Pound the podium hard about election 2018 it will be here faster than you realize.

  5. Any comments on here questioning whether Canyon County needs a new jail should be immediately throwing out as ignorant. While you and your "experts" attempted to take a tour of the of the existing Canyon County jail and got denied it doesn't change the well documented need. Canyon County Jail routinely lets people let people out due to jail space and requests no news intakes. This is not a boondoggle project. I don't trust you either.

    1. More jail beds is not the issues. The issue is do we add to the exiting jail or do we build a new jail with all the associated costs for construction and infrastructure several miles out of town or do we do a needs v. want assessment for more jail beds. The DLR proposal is loaded with so much fat and not needed brick and mortar for a facility that houses inmates with an average 16-21 day sentence on average. As a society we need to do a better job of who really needs incarceration (prisons and jails). Take a look at the world statistics and see just how far out of whack we are compared to the rest of the world. We need fewer laws that incarcerate nonviolent people.

      We have reached a "tipping point" where lock them up and throw the key away, 3-strikes and you're in for life as well as a bunch of other get tough on crime legislation. The state of Idaho is sending 1,000 state inmates out of state at who known how much cost. I am old enough to remember when a lot of things that send people to jail and prison were not on the books. We have legislated ourselves into a costly nightmare for taxpayers. The only question is: When will common sense enter into this mess?


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