GREAT FALLS – Civic leaders met on Friday afternoon to discuss the overcrowding issue at the Cascade County Detention Center.
On Monday, Sheriff Bob Edwards sent out a memo stating the jail will not be accepting non-violent misdemeanor warrants or people arrested for non-violent misdemeanors. He noted that the Detention Center had 531 inmates despite being designed to house only 362 inmates.
“We are extremely overcrowded and I have a huge concern for the safety of my officers. I also have a responsibility to the inmates themselves,” Edwards said. He said having that amount of people in one place raises tension and increases assaults on detention officers and other inmates.
Edwards started the meeting on Friday by apologizing for not giving officials more notice about the memo he sent out.
Detention Center Commander Dan O’Fallon noted that they are looking at several ways to alleviate the situation, including the use of GPS tracking devices, alcohol-monitoring bracelets, and the 24/7 sobriety program.
Edwards wanted the officials to know that they are looking at situations and still taking in misdemeanors.
Edwards says they arrested a man this morning who wanted to fight with officers after he thought he would not be taken to jail.
Reporting by Margaret DeMarco for MTN News