POLSON — The sheriff of a northwestern Montana county wants to make sure residents understand that the jail is full.
The Missoulian reports that starting about three weeks ago, Lake County Sheriff Don Bell began posting on the department’s Facebook page a list of people who were cited for crimes, rather than jailed, because there was no room to house them.
Bell says he has to weigh the odds between public safety and being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union in deciding whether to hold more than 46 inmates.
Bell is hoping better awareness might encourage citizens to ask the county commission to consider a new jail, which a study has found is inadequate.
He says one could be built for about $20 million. Commissioner Gale Decker noted the county’s tax revenues total $12 million a year.
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