State, county share burden in upgrading Lake County jail

State, county share burden in upgrading Lake County jail

A course-motion lawsuit filed last week alleging perilous and inhumane circumstances at the Lake County jail has highlighted a troubling circumstance in Polson that should really arrive as no shock to county officials.

In fact, it was the county by itself that lately introduced awareness to the jail’s deterioration though lobbying the state to aid fund Lake County’s enforcement of Community Regulation 280.

The law enables states to believe prison jurisdiction above Indigenous American reservations, which is usually managed by federal authorities. Lake County has taken care of legislation enforcement tasks on the Flathead Reservation given that the early 1960s. Currently, the county estimates it spends about $4 million per year to foot the invoice.

The county made a video in February aimed at shining a mild on how funding General public Law 280 is draining its potential to manage solutions and improve services. In the movie, county officers precisely issue out the jail’s substandard problem.

Lake County Detention Center Supervising Officer John Todd confirmed a jail pod that was developed to household a dozen inmates, but has held up to 16 men and women at a person time. He talked about how the jail is just significant sufficient to hold only the most violent of accused criminals, though others are unveiled on bond.

“We’re putting 14 violent men and women … into one block,” Todd reported in the video clip. “We’ve had many fights exactly where inmates have gotten hurt and have to go to the medical center with facial fractures and broken jaws.”

A tour of the jail further more exhibits graffiti on the walls and paint peeling absent from the ceiling, and mobile doors that don’t lock. Worse, inadequate ventilation has permitted mildew make-up in the jail facility, even though the duct technique spews dust out of improperly sealed vents, Todd pointed out.

While no 1 expects a jail cell to mirror a 4-star Hilton, the accused must be afforded a harmless and humane facility though currently being processed as a result of the judicial procedure.

Lake County is clearly falling brief of this constitutional appropriate, and it desires to be addressed promptly by both equally the condition Legislature and county taxpayers.

We have reported it right before, and we’ll say it yet again: The funding gap established by General public Regulation 280 is an unfair burden on Lake County, and it’s earlier time the condition upholds its obligation to county residents.

In convert, Lake County citizens eventually need to have to action up and approve a levy to fund an growth of the county jail. If not, they really should be geared up for an onslaught of highly-priced courtroom filings identical to the civil accommodate the county is left dealing with.

Voters rejected this kind of a levy in 2020 for a proposed $15 million jail enlargement. We’re selected those people price estimates have only skyrocketed over the previous two years.

Continuing to transform a blind eye will only exacerbate an presently troubling predicament.

Ferne Dekker

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