Jail Expansion

The El Paso County Sheriff is responding to a report on the jail overcrowding situation. It's a U.S.Justice Department report, and it was written several weeks before voters rejected the jail expansion in November. Though the Sheriff's Office received the report in September, it decided not to release it.

The report states the county should not immediatedly build more cells in the jail. But the Ssheriff's Office didn't share the report with the county commissioners before election day.

Now the county is going ahead with the project anyway. And other services are being cut so they can do so, because, commissioners say, the overcrowding is a huge problem.

Sheriff Terry Maketa says the Justice Department's report was based on incorrect facts, and contained a lot of editorial comments. So, he adds, it is irrelevant and anyone can go down to the El Paso County jail and figure out its too crowded.

The report was based on the scenario only 500 new beds would be built, and their concern was, they would be filled in seven years. But, Maketa says the plan involves building 864 new beds, not 500. He says the reason for the discrepancy is that the consultants came before the plans were finalized.

Maketa denies covering up the report, he says he was not required to release the findings, and so the office decided the report was too technical, innacurate in parts, and editorialized.

The expansion is scheduled to break ground this spring.