Creation of citizens committee to help with county jail crowding

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) The Twin Falls County Commissioners will be evaluating applications for a citizens committee that will help assess the overcrowding situation at the county jail.

County Commissioner Jack Johnson said the committee will help guide the county and jail administrators what the best route to address the issue.

"We're working on what avenues are available and what solutions might be out there, that might be the most cost effective to our taxpayers as well as solving the situations and problems we're facing right now," Johnson said.

Johnson said the options will be presented to the committee, which will be made up of nine people.

Twin Falls County Jail Commander Doug Hughes said on a daily basis the jail facility exceeds the number of inmates it can hold, they recognized the inmate overload in 2016.

"At the same time the penitentiaries became full and state inmates were getting move once they were sentence so right now we're housing 30 people that should be house at the state," Hughes said.

Currently the jail houses 248 inmates, 25 are housed at the Jerome County Jail with several other inmates at the Blaine County Detention Center. An expansion of the facility requires further research Hughes added.

"Those concerns have to be addressed with the city, commissioners and the sheriff's office to make sure we're tying to do it not only financially responsible but also to meet the needs for years to come." Hughes said.

County commissioners said they could potentially see the jail crowding impacting their budget next year.

"Last year was, $150,000 was budgeted for out of county housing, we can potentially looking at three quarters to a million dollars in out of county housing next year," Johnson said.

The county and jail administrators will continue to discuss the jail crowding situation, but both acknowledge creating the citizens committee will be the next course of action.

"From our standpoint having the citizens review kind of the options we have and looking into those things, we have the ability to say 'okay this makes the more sense for the county or this is going to work for the citizenry," Hughes said.

The applications are closed for citizens committee.

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