CALDWELL, Idaho — The loopholes at an Idaho tent jail where eight inmates were able to escape on six different occasions have been fixed, putting the jail back in good standing with the city of Caldwell, officials said.
Canyon County’s tent jail, called Pod 5, was built in 2005 for inmates on work release, but overcrowding at the neighboring indoor jail forced officials to start using it for minimum-security inmates in 2010.
County officials, including the sheriff, advised that the outdoor facility was not sufficient at the time for housing those inmates.
The concerned officials pushed for voter approval to build a new jail on county-owned land, but efforts were unsuccessful. Officials’ concerns became real when eight inmates — who were all eventually recaptured — escaped from the facility between December 2015 and December 2016.
City officials required the jail to secure the outdoor facility, which it recently did by installing an expanded metal lid over the kitchen area, a secure exterior door leading from the kitchen outdoors, a roof over the recreation yard and a 10-foot (3-meter) wire perimeter fence that encloses most of the tent jail.
“These security measures have been needed for some time, and I appreciate the city of Caldwell giving us added flexibility to address these matters,” Sheriff Kieran Donahue said. “The need to utilize the POD 5 facility for … housing minimum- to medium-security inmates, is just one example of the situational crisis the county finds itself in after not properly addressing our true jail needs over the last decade.”