Tracking code caldwell guardian

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Jail Letter Sent to BOCC


Darl Bruner
Chuck Stadick
Ronald Harriman
Hubert Osborne
Dale Pearce
Larry Olmsted
Ed Parnell
Paul Alldredge
Kathy Alder


As concerned citizen taxpayers and voters in Canyon County we are reaching out to you, our elected County Commissioners, as the issue of a County Jail project looms in our future. This ad-hoc Committee was formed to provide grass roots input for your consideration and review during this process.
After due diligence concerning the inadequacy and need of expansion of the County Jail Facilities the Board of Directors of this committee recommend the actions listed below. After our fact-based research it is our opinion these recommendations will provide the best solution, with the least increased tax burden on Canyon County Citizens.

Our first recommendation:
The location of any new jail, holding, or correctional facility required, should be adjacent to or within a distance not to exceed one quarter mile from the existing Canyon County Court Building.  We recommend the vacated and available Vanburen School property, two blocks North of the Canyon County Court Campus, as the most probable and affordable site.   With this recommendation we also recommend the Notus site be sold, and the funds be applied to the cost of the future jail expansion. The cost of infrastructure at the Notus site and the transportation of prisoners to the Canyon County Courts would add unnecessary and continuing expense, which would be borne by the citizens of Canyon County.

Our second recommendation:
In the interest of the County of Canyon tax payers and the State of Idaho’s economic welfare we recommend the selection of an Idaho development firm partnered with an Idaho Architectural firm to build the new facility.  In our investigation, consisting of interviews with jail constructors and architectural firms, we have determined the cost to build in Idaho (as of the date of the publication of the DLR Group’s proposal) to be only 45% of the cost the DLR Group indicated.  We have also found a jail currently under
construction in Kootenai County is being constructed for $67,000.00 per bed; and within the past 20 months a facility was completed in Jerome County at $84,000.00 per bed.  In comparison, the DLR Group’s proposal was $189,655.00 per bed.  Like Canyon County, Kootenai County has failed on three bond issues. They also had a failed effort in securing a Judicial Confirmation. Finally, they decided to use available and excess county funds to incrementally construct their needed incarceration facilities.  

Our third recommendation:
Question - Is a jail expansion to the capacity of 663 combined cells and dormitory beds needed? A review of the U.S. Census for Canyon County identifies a 2% population increase per annum from 2010, indicating the 2018 population with the same growth pattern will be 220,250 and the 2028 population 263,220. When compared with Ada County’s functional facility at 2.25 beds per 1,000 of population; an average bed usage of 1,000 per day; and a population of 444,028 in 2016; Canyon County’s proposed facility in fulfilling the ten-year (10) need would require 592 beds. However, based on a statistical average from the National Institute of Corrections at 2.52 and Utah at 2.54 beds per 1,000 population, a ten (10) year staged development of the jail consisting of 663 existing and new beds is appropriate; with planned expansion after 2028 in 10-year increments.  By utilizing the existing 477 beds this would require a new addition of 186 beds at a cost of $15,624,000.00 based on present construction costs within Idaho. 

Our fourth recommendation:
Utilize excess funds from the County Budget, and the sale of excess property now owned by the county such as the aforementioned Notus site. 


Board of Directors; Concerned Citizens of Canyon County 


  1. I realize we can't just lock people up and throw the key away but the price tag for this new jail is beyond the pale. How much can they stack on property taxes without an outright revolt. I am going to say this right now... schools are out of control with their spending. In Caldwell we just passed a $10 million dollar bond election and now they are back at the well for another $2 million override levy. It has to stop somewhere and I for one will not vote for another increase in my property taxes. They can all go straight to he!!.

  2. Some interesting thoughts and concerns.

    1. A good ad-hoc committee no doubt, but it seems to be a special interest and a closed committee with limited input. Is there a plan to open the meetings to all?

    2. How do you come by your sources for the number of beds, construction of other facilities, etc.?

    3. The new jail is the result of very poor planning, period.
    a. Show me and convince me that overcrowding is a real issue, it's not. Overcrowding is a made-up term so some people can have a job and that increases taxes.
    b. Show me why an addition cannot be put onto the existing jail.

    4. With growth comes crime. Yet, the mayors, city council members, county commissioners seem to be out of touch with everyone except the developers. Currently there are several building that sit empty in each town and yet they give the nod to new construction.

    5. What about alternate sentencing programs.

    6. According to Idaho Law, the counties can charge the incarcerated for their incarceration I.C. 20-607. Is this being done? If not, why not? Making them pay for their housing could be a deterrent to crime.

    7. According to Idaho Law I.C. 20-620 No prisoner is exempt from labor. Some will argue that is basically slave labor, legalized, but I say use inmates to build their own jails.

    Title 20 of the Idaho State Statutes is about the state prison and county jails. Chapter 6 deals with County Jails.

    1. 1. Our group is open to anyone wishing to attend our meeting when we have them. there is no regular meeting date. We only meet when we have something to discuss.

      2. We use Freedom of Information Requests for most of the information we get. Additionally, there is the matter of simply asking people for information and having meetings with people like the County Commissioners, City Officials etc.

      3. There is general agreement there is a need for more jail beds but not a new jail.
      a. Currently, there is a concerted effort to keep only people who need to be in jail, in jail. There is a judicious use of alternative sentencing, pretrial release on their own recognisance. A certain number of jail beds have to be open to put a certain number of people in jail for a major drug bust or other activity that would necessitate immediate jail beds. There is also the use of "Work Release". People work at their jobs during the day and spend nights in jail. A Judge has to authorize this privilege and it costs the inmate a set amount paid in advance.
      b, You are right! An addition can be put on the jail and the plans done by Lombard Conrad Architects is in the office of Comm. Steve Rule. He and former Comm Hanson put the plan together. It is worth noting Comm Hanson was the jail commander for several years before taking office as a county commissioner. The cost for the addition was around $15 MM and would have added 190 beds for each pod.

      4, I don't agree growth brings crime. There are many places where this did not happen. Current growth in this area has a large contingent of retirees. This is not the segment of population that causes crime. It is the 18-34 yr old people causing the most crime.
      Building new stuff has no relationship to already empty buildings in any given area. The property owners who build assume the risk of success or failure of a development.

      5. Alternative sentencing: community service, sheriff's inmate labor detail. work release, are just some of the alternative sentencing used. Call the county prosecutor or the sheriff for more info on alternative sentences.

      6. To my knowledge inmates are charged for their time in jail up to 20 days but collecting it from indigent people is another matter.
      7. The only place I know of where inmate labor was used to build a jail or prison is the one just outside of Ontario, Oregon. Some inmate labor was used on that facility. Canyon County was using some inmate labor out at the land fill but not sure it is still going on or not.

      Bottom line. Check out the use of Freedom of Information Law in Idaho and start filing requests.



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