El Paso County Jail Overcrowded

By: Rosie Barresi Email
By: Rosie Barresi Email

The El Paso County Criminal Justice Center is getting dangerously full.

The El Paso County Sheriff says he has the perfect solution.

Sheriff Terry Maketa is thinking about putting inmates in a tent.

The tent would go in a parking lot right next to the main jail building and it would be able to hold between 150 and 180 inmates.

Sheriff Maketa says it has worked in places like Arizona and could work here in Colorado too.

"This is probably the most cost effective measure that we can implement with in two weeks", says Maketa.

Buying the tent would cost the county more than $150,000.

Leasing the tent is a better option, according to the sheriff, and would cost around $14,000 a month.

That includes the water, heating, plumbing, electrical and maintenance of the entire tent.

County Commissioner Douglas Bruce says, "I commend our sheriff for being very creative."

According to Bruce, every county commissioner is on board with the idea.

Only one tent would be involved.

"There's too many problems with contraband when you have multiple tents", says Maketa.

As for security, the sheriff says low risk inmates only would be placed in the tent.

There would also be guard dogs, cameras and barbed wire fencing circling the entire area.

The tent could go up as soon as the middle of March.

Officials are also still deciding if the tent would be permanent or temporary.


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