It’s time for a new jail in Lewis and Clark County. Our current jail is dangerously old and overcrowded. It was built in 1985 and designed to house 54 detainees. Since that time our community has grown, but our jail has not. The jail is not equipped to handle the amount of people that it is being asked to house. It routinely has over 100 people in it and for a lot of inmates that means they’re forced to sleep on the floor wherever space can be found.

Overcrowding at the jail creates unsafe conditions for the staff and inmates but, more importantly, it’s not safe for our communities. Because of the insufficient space, there are people in our community that should be in jail, but are out on the streets. Some of these people can be violent and present risks to our safety.

It’s time for a new jail -- one that meets the needs of our community and will keep the public, staff and inmates safe. Jail is not supposed to be a nice place, but we owe it to ourselves, the detention staff and inmates for it to at least be a safe place.

Cody Colbert