Canyon County Sheriff addresses jail security issues after string of escapes

Posted at 1:51 PM, Oct 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-05 19:22:53-04

The Canyon County Sheriff says he's facing roadblocks to fixing the jail's security issues. Sheriff Kieran Donahue says his requests for funding to fix security at the jail's tent structure have been denied by Canyon County Commissioners.

"This has to end," Donahue says. "We are at the end of our rope, as they say."

Wednesday morning the Canyon County Sheriff's Office held a news conference to address the string of break outs from the county jail's tent facility. Five inmates have escaped the tent facility since 2015.

Jeffrey Duvall and Juan Cervantes escaped Saturday night have been apprehended and charged with felony injury to a jail. They were found at a home on Bighorn Way in Caldwell. Korena Irma Valencia, 22, was also arrested Tuesday for harboring the escaped inmates. 

Donahue says improvements need to be made to the jail's fencing system and the outdoor recreational area used by inmates to prevent future escapes.

"We've presented numerous times to the Board of County Commissioners... regarding these issues," Donahue says. "We have brought in the maintenance department...who has made advisements about advancing the security of that facility; it continues to fall on deaf ears by the Board of County Commissioners."

Donahue says his office is asking for $50-$60 thousand to make the needed improvements. Though that seems like a large amount of money to most, Donahue says it's reasonable in comparison to the cost of a jail expansion.

"These two county commissioners in particular have authorized $1.4 million on a jail expansion project that is, for all intents and purposes, shut down by the City council's  denial of appeal, is $50 to $60,000 dollars that much money for the public's safety and the exposed liability of this county?" Donahue says. "I think not." 

The Canyon County Commissioners are scheduled to meet with the Sheriff's Office Thursday morning to further discuss the issue.