Two Canyon County Jail inmates escape; Sheriff Donahue says changes need to be made

Posted at 5:43 PM, Nov 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-01 20:51:24-04
Two inmates from the Canyon County Jail were recaptured on Tuesday after they escaped from the minimum security tent area earlier that day. The escape brings the total to six in the past 18 months.
Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue says 27-year-old Brandon Luna and 19-year-old Ian Benoit escaped from the tent area while on their outdoor recreation period just after 10 a.m. Deputies believe the two inmates climbed over a security fence.
"We can only operate the facilities that are provided to us and for us by the board of county commissioners," said Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue.
Authorities say Benoit was captured almost immediately after a brief struggle with a sheriff deputy, but police say Luna broke into a home one the 1100 block of Denver Street, just blocks away from the jail. Sheriff Donahue says a police K-9 tracked Luna’s scent to the home just after 1 p.m.
"We sent the dog and the inmate was bit several times and we were able to get him to come to us and take him into custody," explained Sheriff Donahue.
Sheriff Donahue says this escape could have been prevented. He says he's received recommendations which include adding a mesh enclosure over the recreation area and a secondary fence. Those improvements would cost an estimated $70 to $80 thousand. But the funding has not been approved by the county commissioners.
"To me, it's about public safety, you got to spend the money let's get those safety measures in place,” said Sheriff Donahue.
Canyon County Commissioner Tom Dale is in favor of approving the Sheriff's request for funding.  Dale says the roadblocks come from the two other commissioners.
"They've stated their positions very clearly, and I don't think they're going to move from those positions," Dale said. "Realistically, we are in a position where we have to keep using that [tent] facility for the next foreseeable short term, and given that we have means of securing it... I believe we should do that."
Police say Luna was in custody for felony possession of a controlled substance, misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia, misdemeanor fail to provide proof of insurance, misdemeanor fail to appear, misdemeanor weapons offense and driving without privileges.
Police also say Benoit was in custody for felony possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia.