Stop-gap in place for jail overcrowding

Print Article

The Flathead County jail has room for a few dozen more “guests” since a temporary addition opened July 2 on the second floor of the Justice Center.

By converting space that once housed the County Attorney’s offices into dormitory-style rooms for 40 jail beds — and adding more bunk beds to the existing detention center — the county finally has a stop-gap measure in place to deal with the chronic overcrowding at the jail. For the first time in years the jail is able to accept misdemeanor offenders of all kinds, not just those involving violence or public endangerment.

Even though it cost $1.64 million to build and furnish the addition, it’s only a temporary fix. It may be a few years before the county comes up with a game plan of what kind of new jail to build and how much it will cost.

Here’s what we know so far. Flathead County has included $50 million for a new jail in the county’s five-year capital improvement plan. The cost would be spread out over three years and the project is contingent on voters supporting a $37 million bond.

To their credit, county officials are doing their homework to look at what similar counties have in place for adult detention. Members of a jail planning group toured Gallatin County’s 160-bed jail in Bozeman this week. Flathead County is similar in size and economy to Gallatin County, so it makes sense to get a close-up look at that facility, which was supported with a $32 million voter-approved bond.

Given the projected continuing growth of the Flathead Valley, it’s inevitable our county will need to build a new jail. Converting an existing facility or somehow adding on to the existing jail in the Justice Center just don’t seem like good options when one considers the return on investment.

Yes, $50 million is a boat-load of money, and it’s not going to get any cheaper. The county won a state planning grant last year to evaluate expansion options, and we encourage all of the county officials involved in the planning process to use every dollar of that grant wisely to determine a solution for adult detention that will serve the Flathead for the next 100 years and beyond.

Print Article

Read More

226 killed as 7.1 magnitude quake fells buildings in Mexico

AP

September 20, 2017 at 12:18 am | MEXICO CITY (AP) — A powerful earthquake shook central Mexico on Tuesday, collapsing buildings in plumes of dust and killing at least 226 people. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many st...

Comments

Read More

The Latest: President Donald Trump warns North Korea

AP

September 20, 2017 at 12:07 am | NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on U.S. President Donald Trump at the United Nations (all times local): 6:30 p.m. President Donald Trump will be returning to New York next week for a fundraising d...

Comments

Read More

The Latest: Death toll rises to 226 from Mexico earthquake

AP

September 20, 2017 at 12:01 am | MEXICO CITY (AP) — The latest on the strong earthquake that hit Mexico City (all times local): 12:55 a.m. Mexico's civil defense agency says the death toll has risen to 226 from Tuesday's mag...

Comments

Read More

AP Interview: Lavrov hints US-Russia 'Tit-for-tat' could end

AP

September 19, 2017 at 11:30 pm | NEW YORK (AP) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday that he heard positive news in President Donald Trump's United Nations address: "that the U.S....

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2017 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X