El Paso County Sheriff Says His Jail Is ‘Bursting At The Seams’

August 21, 2018
Photo: Marijuana Black Market Busts 3 | El Paso Sheriff Elder - REstarbookRachel Estabrook/CPR News
El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder.

El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder says his jail is bursting at the seams.

The only jail in El Paso County reached a record number of inmates Monday, 1,839. That beats the previous record of 1,791 set a year ago. In a press release, the Sheriff says the population of the jail has steadily increased over the past five years.

Elder adds expanding the current jail, or building a new one, isn't an option.

"My number one priority is the impact this situation has on our deputies in the jail," Elder says in the statement. "We will continue to focus on jail staffing until we fund a more permanent solution."

The El Paso County jail isn't the only facility bursting at the seams. La Plata County's jail hit capacity in June. Overcrowding has been an ongoing issue across the state's many jails, many of which are older construction or are repurposed buildings — like a former sheriff's house in Saguache.

In nearby Pueblo County, where the jail has been the most overcrowded facility in the state, officials were really worried about the summer — which is usually a jail's busiest time.

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