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Pipe Springs A Leak, Gets Into Jerome County Jail

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By Jay Michaels

Jerome, Idaho (KMVT-TV) Jerome voters have narrowly defeated a proposal to build a new county jail four times. But the problems the jail faces still haven't gone away.

The number one problem at the Jerome County Jail is overcrowding. This month alone, Jerome County wrote two checks for $7,000 each to pay Blaine and Gooding Counties to house Jerome's prisoners they didn't have room for.

Lt. Dan Kennedy with the Jerome County Sheriff's Office says, "The cell construction itself is very old and antiquated. Finding repair parts for a locking mechanism is almost impossible. In fact, we've only been able to find one manufacturer in the country that still builds some of the parts, which also makes them more expensive."

Kennedy says the infrastructure of the jail also continues to deteriorate. Right now workers are trying to track down a broken pipe that's leaking outside the courthouse's foundation.

Jerome County Commissioner Charlie Howell says, "We're digging up the outside of the foundation to try to figure out where our foundation is leaking into the jail. It started around on the jail part of it, and has proceeded the water's coming from, and how to address that issue to keep it out of the jail cell in the basement."

Kennedy says the jail was built before the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed, and it's very difficult to get into and out of the jail cells. He says starting next year, there are going to be specific consequences for the jail not being in compliance with jail standards, which has been the case for many years now.

Kennedy says, "We could potentially actually lose our insurance coverage, or have it drastically reduced as a result of failing the jail inspection consecutively."

Kennedy says there aren't many options, and that the current jail either needs to be replaced or closed.

Oct. 9, 2012.


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