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Friday, December 22, 2017

Commishes Wisely Reconsider $198MM Jail Project

Today's local paper above the fold has a very good article on the fact our County Commissioners have come to the conclusion $198 million for jail bond would not likely pass muster with voters.  Voters have already shot down three previous attempts to pass a jail bond to build a new jail. Here's a link:

Another issue is how Sheriff Donahue states we are in "crisis mode"with our jail as he can find no other places to board inmates outside of Canyon County.  On page A4 of the Idaho Press Tribune there is a article about Jerome County trying to find an entity to rent 50 jail beds.  Jerome County is 126 miles from Caldwell. Here's a link to this story  posted on KTVB News:

 Sheriff Donahue and County Commissioners can't seem to agree on the best way forward.  I was invited to the DLR Group meeting at the Commissioner's meeting room several weeks back when the price tag of $198 million was presented to those in attendance. You could almost hear the oxygen leave the room when this price for a new jail was presented.

Additionally, before Comm. Dale was elected, there was a proposal by Commissioners Rule and Hanson to add onto the existing jail for something less than $20 Million with most of it paid for with existing fund balances.  Candidate Dale said he would issue a stop work order if this project was started.  That proclamation was all that was needed for the Caldwell City Council to refuse a special use permit for the proposed jail addition.  So, the addition died on the vine.  Commissioner Hanson was replaced and now we have Commissioners Dale and White in lock-step with one another on how to proceed with the need for more jail space.  Meanwhile Commissioner Rule is a voice in the wilderness on jail matters.

It will be interesting to see what the Commissioners come up with next.  It has been reported to The Guardian the Vanburen School property is in the final stages of purchase by the County Commissioners.  I am part of a fact finding group and saw a very good presentation of how the Vanburen property along with other property adjacent to the school would amount to 23 acres that could be used to build a jail.  This could be done in piecemeal steps or all at once.  It would remove the need for transporting inmates from the Notus Hwy. site into town for court appearances for in custody inmates.

Lastly, the issue of the commissioners seeking judicial confirmation to bypass voters was mentioned by Mr. Dale.  It is very unlikely this could happen given this same request was denied in Sandpoint, Idaho several years ago.  Also, in summary it would appear the words "crisis mode" often used by our sheriff just is not the case when there are jail beds for rent in Jerome County.


  1. I think if they would propose a jail not the resort that I have seen pictures of people would support it. how about poured sealed concrete not ceramic tile through out no cable Tv no computer access no weight room TV dinner type meals and any other frills that could be eliminated. Perhaps if jail was less pleasant some of these people would be less interested in going to jail.

    1. If it is any comfort to you, I know the food inmates are served if of the "heat and serve" variety. No more on site cooking from scratch. I imagine it can get pretty old and predictable. Secondly, there has never been a weight room in the Canyon County Detention facility.

  2. The best advise I have for someone who doesn't like the accommodations in jail is to not do the things that cause you to be in jail.


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