Study: Idaho Jail Understaffed While County Reaps Revenue to House Outside Prisoners

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An investigation in the wake of a Nov. 12 inmate suicide at the Nez Perce County Jail indicates that the lockup is woefully understaffed.

This morning's Lewiston Tribune reports that the study found the jail should have a minimum of 13 more employees to operate safely and efficiently. The research said the jail should have at least 40 employees if they are on eight-hour schedules, 41 employees on 12-hour shifts and approximately 50 employees for 10-hour shifts. The detention center currently has 27 employees.

Law enforcement asked for the independent review after the Nov. 3 hanging of a Kootenai County inmate who was being held at the Nez Perce facility.

The Tribune reports that the jail averages 140-150 inmates each day, with 65-70 inmates considered as Nez Perce County prisoners and the remainder coming in from outlying counties under contract with Nez Perce County. The outside contracts generate approximately $1.2 million per year for Nez Perce County.

The Tribune also reports that 10 jailers quit the facility in 2012 and another quit just last week.