Posted: Oct 23, 2012 7:29 PM by Irina Cates - KPAX News
MISSOULA- A growing number of inmates at the Missoula County jail is resulting in overcrowding in some parts of the detention facility.
Jail administrators consider the detention facility "full" when it reaches 80% of its total capacity, a problem they're running into right now.
"Problems start to arise when you creep past that 80%. A typical housing pod will hold 24 inmates. When you have 24 inmates in there, tensions are high-those inmates have to share one TV now with 23 other inmates and so conflict arises," Missoula County Detention Facility administrator, Captain Jason Kowalski explained.
The jail has reached that 80% capacity mark for the last 10 months, sometimes that number has been even higher, like right now, where the jail population is at 84%.
"We have some trouble spots within our system that we have to do some maneuvers around and create some space," Kowalski said.
Those trouble spots include the female population and the maximum security area.
"Anybody that comes arrested that's on alcohol, drugs or has some other issues that we don't quite know what they are, they have to go to maximum security unit we can evaluate them better. And that's a Friday, Saturday night dilemma," Kowalski said.
The population increase is being attributed to judges making people, who they used to release, stay in jail. The other factors are more officers on the street and the growing number of people who moved into the county since the jail was built 12 years ago.
Jail administrator say the facility will still have enough space for a number of years to come, but there will be some challenges.