Sheriff on releasing inmates: 'What if we make a mistake?'

CALDWELL, Idaho (KBOI) - Every day, Canyon County Jail officers get with the prosecutor to figure out what inmates will stay and which inmates will get an early release. After that it's up to a judge to sign off on the order to let them go because of overcrowding in the jail.

In all, the Canyon County jail houses 477 inmates. Of that 62 are women. The sheriff says this overcrowding process is releasing five to 10 inmates a day. "We're hoping we're not letting the wrong person out, we're hoping we're keeping the right person in. But what if we make a mistake," Sheriff Kieran Donahue said.

Voters have rejected a new jail three times in the last decade in Canyon County, including a vote in 2009 when a bond election was voted down to build a jail at Highway 20 26 and Pond Lane. The 23 acres is still owned by the county.

"I don't really understand why they would turn down a new jail if there is such an overcrowding problem. Usually it's the people that will turn that down that usually end up complaining about the people that are being release,." Caldwell resident Elaine Spencer said.

Meanwhile the jail is releasing inmates to the streets and the sheriff says there are no quick fixes. "Somebody stays and somebody goes. Are we making the right choice? And what day will that come back and haunt us?" the Sheriff said.