Garfield County adding jail capacity |

Garfield County adding jail capacity

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler/Post IndependentMark Alexander works on a remodel inside of Garfield County jail on Thursday afternoon. The project will add more than 3,000 square feet of space to the facility.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The Garfield County jail is running out of room. So, the county is remodeling its jail to add capacity and offer more options for temporarily housing inmates.

Sgt. Kevin Erpestad said the construction began early this year. The space, more than 3,000-square-foot on the ground floor, used to be an open room with dormitory-style bunks for the community corrections program. The remodeling came after the county opened a new Community Corrections Center near Rifle in May 2007.

“When they built the building in Rifle it didn’t really fit our purposes anymore,” Erpestad said. “Basically we’re getting beds back that we lost to com-core.”

He said the area was really just a temporary fix for the community corrections program until it could open its own facility.

Once the project is complete, the area will boast 11 new cells for a total of 35 more beds. About four can hold around four to six inmates and the others can hold two inmates. That will add a significant amount of capacity to the jail, which currently has around 165 beds, Erpestad said.

He said the added capacity could allow the county to avoid having to build another jail in Rifle for a few years or more. The remodel is expected to be complete by December. But as for now, he said, “We’re running pretty close” to capacity. On Thursday, there were about 150 inmates in the jail.

The remodeled area will be used for short-term lodging and as a staging area for inmates getting booked in or being moved. It will also house inmates who are about to get released or get out of jail on bond, Erpestad said.

The cinder blocks, painted white, and light-blue trim around doors and windows will match the rest of the jail.

Erpestad said the cost of the remodel, by Mueller Construction, is roughly $750,000.

Cells in the remodeled area will offer inmates more than is standard in cells throughout the rest of the jail. There will be a phone in each cell and showers in several of them so inmates can spruce up or make calls before getting out of jail.

There is also an open area outside the cells that will include chairs and a television.

Inmates will also be able to contact the outside world through two video-visitation devices. In video-visitation, an inmate sits down in front of a screen and a camera in the open area outside the cells. They can see and speak to family or friends on the other end of the devices near the front desk of the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.

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