Canyon Jail Math Questioned, Commishes Won’t Take” NO” For An Answer

A group calling itself “Concerned Citizens of Canyon County
Committee” has drafted a letter to the Canyon Commishes calling their math into question over a proposed third attempt to secure a yes vote for a nearly $200 million jail.

Growth is costly, especially when it comes to criminals. Regional jails sound better all the time, but not when a single county taxes its residents hoping to sell beds to other jurisdictions in the future.

Here is the lengthy letter from the CCCCC to the 2C commishes:

Canyon County Commissioners
Dale, White, Rule:

It is our understanding you have scheduled a meeting with the DLR Group on January 5th, 2018 to continue the employment of this company for the purpose of determining taxpayer support of yet another Jail Bond. We have learned this will cost taxpayers another $58,000 for this survey.

We recognize the need for more jail beds in Canyon County. However, in the interest of good government and consideration of the onerous tax increase of the DLR proposal of $198 MM to build a new jail based on erroneous assumptions we are requesting you cease your efforts with the DLR Group for the following reasons:

1. The proposal prepared by the DLR Group when compared with national and local costs for jail construction costs is excessive in design and cost to taxpayers.

2. DLR Group’s proposal states the need for 1,055 jail beds at a cost of $187,677.00 per bed and a total cost for the project of $198,000,000.

3. DLR Group’s calculations are based on the premise of 3.35 beds per 1,000 population which exceeds the national average by 41%. The national average is 2.34 beds per 1,000 people. Historically, the local averages for jail beds is 2.25 beds per 1,000 residents.

4. We did a search and found a recently completed jail in Idaho was opened in July 2016 with 135 beds and constructed for $11.2 MM or an average bed cost of $84,848.00. Clearly, this brings into question costs generated by DLR.

According to census data, Canyon County’s population as of December 31st 2016 was 211,698. This is an increase of 12% since January 1st 2011. Based on the national statistics of 2.34 beds per 1,000 people we should have a jail bed total of 538 single occupancy cells or 269 double occupancy jail cells. Or, a mix of jail cells and dormitory beds of no more than 538 total beds based on our current population data.

Our Sheriff, an elected official, says we have a need of 1055 beds to satisfy jail bed needs for the next 20 years. However, with historical population increases of 2% per year, in 2037, Canyon County population would be 314,572 and that would dictate a need of only 736 total jail beds.

The DLR Group analysis is calling for a bloated 41% increase over projected needs for jail beds based upon 2.34 beds/1,000 people. If construction is staged over the next 10 years we should only need 604 jail beds.

Current capacity of our jail is 477 beds. A jail addition was proposed by former Comm. Hanson and Current Comm. Rule and would have added a net increase of 140 new jail beds. (50 beds of the current jail would be lost to construction demolition. The actual number of new beds would be 190 minus those lost to demolition.) This addition would have given a total bed count of 612 total beds in the Canyon County Jail. Additionally, there is room for another 190 beds of the same podular design next to the Dale Haile Detention Center.

Cost for the 190-bed addition was set at $15 MM by Lombard Conrad Construction Company for the Hanson-Rule addition. This was a turnkey cost of construction. The cost per bed for this project would have been $79,000/bed. This is a substantial difference in cost when compared to the DLR Group proposal. It was shared with us this jail addition could have been built out of County reserve funds at no additional increase to Canyon County taxpayers. (this effort was impeded by the statement from Comm. Dale that he would issue a stop work order when he got elected. His statement effectively killed the project.)

It is our understanding you have spent $245,020.00 with the DLR Group for their efforts to date. And now you want to spend another $58,000 on a survey effort of Canyon County taxpayers to discern their willingness to support another jail bond. We have these results in a resounding NO from three previous jail bond elections. We think spending another $58,000 on this survey is not the best use of taxpayer dollars.

DLR Group has not given Canyon County taxpayers a fiscally responsible nor reasonable cost for a new jail with their cost of $198,000,000 for their jail proposal.

As a group, Concerned Citizens of Canyon County, we strongly request that you develop a fiscally responsible plan for more jail beds within the defined boundaries of the Canyon County Courthouse Campus and secure at least three (3) competitive proposals which reflect the actual basic requirements for a functional facility.


Concerned Citizens of Canyon County**

** Ron Harriman, Kathy Alder, Victor Rodriguez, Paul Alldredge, Chuck Stadick, Dale Pearce,
Darl Brunner, Bob Gaddis, Daryl Ford, Don Brandt, Ed Parnell, Hubert Osborne, Larry Olmsted,
Mila Wood, Ronalee Linsenmann, Sid Freeman, Tara Alexandra

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Brian Vermilion
    Jan 1, 2018, 4:16 pm

    The canyon county commies don’t seem to understand what the word “no” means. There’s good money in conducting studies with taxpayers’ money. Ask Dave Bieter.

  2. The taxpayers sole purpose in life is to provide capital for the business enterprises of the government leaders and friends. Why don’t you understand that?

  3. They could follow Zion Bank’s lead by surveying 1003 residences of “Treasure Valley” with only 40% of those being in Canyon Country and then report that a whopping 92% of those polled supported the new jail. A public relations strategy that proved to work well for Dave Bieter.

  4. A very impressive piece of work by CCoCC.

    We need a similar sharp pencil taken to a couple projects for which Boise City wants to hire outside consultants to convince Boise citizens they want and need—Stadium Dreams and Streetcar Desires.

  5. The new jail is not needed according to the taxpayers.

    The taxpayers of Jerome County paid for a new jail with a promise of so-called new options for leasing excess beds at the county jail. After nearly a year of waiting on a contract from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the long-awaited contract, which would allow ICE to lease 50 beds at the Jerome jail, has never materialized.

    I fear that Canyon County will most likely become another Jerome County at the commissioners behest.

    From the photos I have seen of the insides of the Dale Hale Detention Center (jail in Caldwell) I see plenty of bed space to add extra beds. Jail is supposed to be punishment not a luxury hotel.

  6. chicago sam
    Jan 2, 2018, 8:47 am

    Perhaps there is a hidden agenda in the Sheriff and County Commissioners eternal search for a larger jail.
    Read the January 20, 2008 link in which the State and Sheriff’s are looking to County’s to build the jails and would pay the rock bottom price of $45/day to have the inmates housed.
    DLR group puts cost / day in their proposal at over $120/day. Sweet deal? for whom–not County residents.

  7. How about a training program: BYOJ—Build Your Own Jail? Inmates contribute labor, learn job skills.

    Isn’t that how the old pen was built?Probably judged “cruel and unusual punishment” these days.

  8. Did you know trash fees amount to almost as much as the counties portion of property taxes?

  9. I can only live in hope we get someone who will run against Commissioners Tom Dale and Pam White. I have to give Commissioner Steve Rule credit for stepping away from this ridiculous jail proposal. I want to say the same for our Sheriff, Kieran Donahue, he is known as the absentee Sheriff. He is hardly ever there. He won’t return calls to Commissioners and won’t discuss anything but that new jail with the whopping cost of $200MM to Canyon County Taxpayers.

    It is my understanding there have been other proposals for more jail beds but they have fallen on deaf ears. I hope someone will step up and run against these fools.

    EDITOR NOTE–Based on public info you obtained, Jerome County is as bad as the Idaho Dept. of Lands as a business entity. They average 31 local inmates, about 60 from the state and other counties and have 33 empty beds. To us it seems nearly three times “overbuilt.” Ada got the Feds to pony up about $8 million for construction to handle USA prisoners. Feds pay more than state, but inmates don’t get “upgrades” or extra bonus points for their stays.


  10. Some of these local government officials are really naive. Canyon county people could look to an ethics commission if there is one. Also they should show presence at all the meetings. If the people have voted no, it means they don’t want to pay for it. Why don’t the officials understand that? Naive may not be a strong enough word.

    Look what the Nampa school district has endured for years with regard to bad financial management.

    Question yur elders, Booboo.

  11. In Canyon County, jail-time and obtaining convictions (regardless of guilt) is big business.
    Of course, the commissioners there want bigger, more populated jails. It brings them money.
    Just look at how much the county gets every time they send someone on a rider.
    Just look at the treasonous and criminal behavior of their prosecuting attorneys.
    “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

    ― Ayn Rand

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