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Remodel could help Power County Jail meet state standards

Power County’s sheriff says the county jail is in need of a major remodel to meet state standards.

Sheriff Jim Jeffries said there are quite a few areas of the jail that need fixes, like having areas opened up so there’s nothing out of view of guards, or putting in disabled access for visitors.

He said it comes down to safety.

“That’s what they’re all about. So if you have someone in here and they’re under your care, you want to be able to release them in as good or better condition as they came in,” Jeffries said.

The 30-year-old building isn’t falling apart, but many aspects of its design and layout don’t meet standards set up by county sheriffs throughout Idaho.

A few temporary holding cells that house inmates for a few hours at a time have beds, but will only fit someone under five feet tall.

The architect planning the remodel said getting a jail up to code is a very specialized project.

“It’s a lot different than an office building or senior housing,” architect Lee Dille said.

A dressing room will be put in for hygiene as inmates come into the jail, and outside recreation areas will be made larger and safer.

The sheriff said he wants to make it very clear that these are needed updates, not turning jail into the lap of luxury.

“It certainly wouldn’t turn the jail here into a four-star-hotel. But what it will accomplish is a safer environment for inmates to do their time and guards to do their work,” Jeffries said.

Jeffries also said meeting jail code should save the county money when it comes to insurance and liability costs.

Power County Commissioners will meet July 23 to decide whether to go forward with the proposed remodel.

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