KOOTENAI CO., Idaho --- Construction crews will begin to work on the Kootenai County Jail sometime next week to expand the facility and add 114 beds.
The $10.4 million expansion will take somewhere between 14 to 16 months, officials said, and they hope it will alleviate some of their overcrowding issues.
Det. Dennis Stinebaugh said right now, the capacity at the jail is 327, but they regularly see more than 400 inmates at a time. To deal with the overcrowding, they have to house people at other jails.
With the additional beds, they will be able to house 441 inmates, but Stinebaugh said that would barely cover their record number of inmates in custody, which they set earlier this year. Back in March, the Kootenai County Jail had about 425 inmates in custody, with the majority of them being held on felony charges.
Stinebaugh said originally, jail officials requested an additional 222 beds, but only 114 were approved by the county commissioners.
Stinebaugh said the funding for the expansion came from a general county fund.
“They had a little over $20 million in an account that was tax money that had already been collected,” he said. “So there was no additional tax burden [for the expansion.]”
He said KCSO plans to hire 22 new employees as a result of the expansion.
“We are hiring, that’s coming up,” he said. “For us it’s kind of a difficult thing, we’re trying to staff that… finding qualified candidates is always difficult in law enforcement.”
He said they would post on their website and social media accounts when the job postings were listed for anyone interested in applying.
Stinebaugh said for now, the jail did not plan to relocate any inmates during construction.
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