Jerome Voters Get 4th Try On County Jail
Jerome, Idaho (KMVT-TV) In the last three years, Jerome County has tried to get voters to approve building a new county jail three times–unsuccessfully. Will scaled back plans for a smaller facility work this time around?
In 2009, the Jerome County Commissioners decided to see how much it would take to build a new county jail. The original proposal was 165 beds with a price tag of $13 million. Unfortunately, voters didn't get the needed two-thirds super majority that time, or in May and again in November of 2010.
Jerome County Sheriff Doug McFall says, "We've rolled that back to 120 beds, which still should take care of Jerome County for the next 10 to 20 years. The good thing about this plan is this jail plan is set up for future expansion. And so this jail's going to take what Jerome County needs for the next 40 to 50 years."
McFall says the county commissioners have reevaluated the jail project, and he thinks they've got the answers the citizens were asking for. So now voters will head to the polls again next Tuesday, May 15th.
Jerome County Deputy Marisela Ibarra says, "We have an older facility. One of our concerns is our inmate safety, and our deputies' safety, as well."
Despite the previous votes, the current jail still doesn't meet current safety standards, and has failed to pass inspections for several years now. That makes the current jail a target for some potential fines or even lawsuits.
McFall says, "Most of the voters realize that Jerome County needs a new jail, even the people that have been against the jail and says that we need a new jail. They just want to make sure the county commissioners are doing the right thing as far as building this facility."
May 9, 2012.