BUTTE — The Butte Detention Center is struggling with an overcrowding problem.
“It’s costly and it’s dangerous to our staff and it could be hazardous to the inmates also,” said Butte Undersheriff George Skuletich.
A jail built for 72 inmates has had more than 100 inmates for the past two years. Many inmates have been in jail more than 400 days awaiting a bed to open in the Montana State Prison, so inmates start to stack up at the county level.
“Approximately $80 a day to house an inmate, and when you’re running 110 inmates when you’re supposed to be running 75 to 80, it’s expensive,” said the undersheriff.
To try to take the pressure off the jail, Butte’s judicial system has established special DUI, Drug and veterans courts that focus on treatment over incarceration.
“And that’s helping to a point, I don’t know where we’d be if didn’t have those programs in,” said Skuletich.
Another factor complicating the overcrowded issue at the jail, is there’s far more female inmates incarcerated in this jail now than ever before.
“We’re running around 30, 33 females which is quite a few, usually there’s not that big of a percentage of our population, so that causes us issues also on how to place the females,” said Skuletich.