COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho—A concern for the boilers at the Kootenai County Jail could bring a rude awakening to inmates who enjoy a long shower.
Building staff was given permission to carry out a plan that would restrict inmate shower times in order to reduce stress on the facility’s boilers.
Kootenai County Building and Grounds director Shawn Riley said replacing the boilers in the facility was becoming an expensive hassle at about $27,000 per replacement. Riley said he and his assistant manager came up with an idea to relieve some of the pressure from those boilers.
Riley said the boilers work constantly, running water to the showers, laundry and other things. The solution his department came up with was to limit inmates' access to what was almost an unlimited shower time before.
“Some inmates will take two to three showers a day. Some inmates will even take up to five. They’re taking one in the morning, after they work out and before bed. And sometimes then some,” said Riley.
The plan puts limits on what times of the day the showers can be used and also how long.
Reports said inmates in the low security part of the jail have unlimited access to showers until 10:00 p.m. The new shower restrictions would make showers only available for five minutes at a time between 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Riley said equipment will be installed to only allow the showers to run for five minutes at a time.
“Inmates will get two five minute showers in a row before it automatically shuts off for 10 minutes,” said Riley.
Riley said the new plan would be very beneficial for the county’s finances.
The county spent $263,765 on water and natural gas to fire the boilers for hot water at the jail the past fiscal year, according to Riley. He went on to estimate the new plan could save the county around $80,000 a year.
"It's a big burden on the taxpayers of Kootenai County," said Marc Eberlein, a Kootenai County Commissioner. "This is probably going to be at least half the price of normal."
Water controls for the entire jail are expected to cost $35,000, according to Riley.
Eberlein said he thought the changes would go into place in a couple of months.
Riley said the shower plan will not apply to sinks, the jail booking showers, or the showers in the medical facility.