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Canyon Co. Sheriff calls third inmate escape in the last year "ridiculous"

Posted at 10:07 PM, Aug 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-03 00:13:39-04
During a recreation period Sunday, police say Abel Enrique Garcia climbed over the exterior fence of Canyon County's minimum-security facility and then took off in a waiting vehicle.
 
Garcia was apprehended Monday without incident, but Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue said this was no expert escape plan. 
 
"This is a 5-second decision, really, that's all it takes," said Sheriff Donahue.
 
In fact, Garcia's escape is now the third one this year -- something Sheriff Donahue said is simply ridiculous.
 
"It's incredibly frustrating," said Sheriff Donahue. "It goes back to the fact that we are utilizing a facility, a tent, a structure that was never designed for what we are using it for. It was designed for work release."
 
Sheriff Donahue said overcrowding in the brick and mortar jail facility has caused them to use the work release tent to house inmates 24 hours a day. That permanent facility was built back in 1991 when there were roughly only 90,000 people that lived in Canyon County. Now, that number has more than doubled, but the amount of jail cells does not reflect that.
 
While they are making changes to the fencing to ensure this doesn't happen again, Sheriff Donahue said this is just a temporary fix, and long-term solutions need to be considered. 
 
Canyon County voters have turned down three bond proposals that would pay for a new jail, many turning it down in favor of a jail expansion. But Sheriff Donahue said that expansion will not even meet the current needs of the jail and would still require use of the tent facility.