Overcrowding forces jail to house inmates in a tent

6:23 PM, Jul 14, 2013   |    comments
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FARMINGTON, Mo. (KSDK) - Some inmates at the St. Francois County jail are staying in a tent on the jail's impound lot because of overcrowding.

"We can house up to ten people on army cots," said Sgt. Dennis Smith, the St. Francois County Jail Administrator.

The jail can accommodate 185 inmates but right now they have about 250 inmates so he says every little bit alleviates the problem.

Starting last month ago, some people, with misdemeanor charges against them, stay in a tent during weekends.

The tents were purchased with grant money from the department of Homeland Security.

The temporary "cells" are used for people who are only spending a night or two in jail over the weekend. There is a portable toilet and a homemade sink.

A razor-wire fence surrounds the area, which is monitored through surveillance cameras. Random checks are also made.

Sgt. Smith says so far the experiment is working and the weather has been cooperating.

"We are looking to get maybe another tent or two to be able to expand our weekend numbers. Otherwise we are hoping our numbers will eventually go down and we won't have to worry about it as much," said Sgt. Smith.

The jail will continue to use the tent throughout the summer and fall. Jail officials say when the weather gets colder they will revisit their plan.


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