As we said -- the plan getting ready to be voted on this November would bring much more space to the Ward County jail if passed by voters.
And space is certainly at a premium there right now.
Perry Olson takes us inside the jail that almost nightly is filled to the brim.
A bed is hard to find in Minot...and I'm not just talking about hotels! The Ward County Jail, almost daily, is full. With 104 beds, it used to be just right for the region...but the region is changing.
(Sheriff Steve Kukowski - Ward County) "On Saturday night alone we took in 17 arrests so we are trying to develop a plan to get them in and booked and bonded out because we just don't have room for them."
One recent weekend, 107 inmates were here...the numbers just don't add up. Kukowski is hopeful help is on the way. Should voters pass a building plan for the county, the jail would be added to -- another 56 beds. It would make situations like this not needed for now...creating space where there really isn't room...
(Sheriff Steve Kukowski - Ward County) "We modified it, changed it so it would work for us. Whatever we had to do to make it work."
He's talking about an evidence collection area just slammed into a corner of a garage. Expansion -- should voters approve it -- would push the jail north, and take care of space issues now...but the future? Well, that is anyone's guess around here right now.
(Sheriff Steve Kukowski - Ward County) "We would sit back and say that should last and that should do...however with the continued growth, that might not be enough and in ten years we might have to look at it again.
The hope is, to build so that any additions in the future could go up...not out. This space crunch isn't exclusive to corrections in Ward County either -- basically everyone is full...meaning it is tough to find a spot for inmates...
(Sheriff Steve Kukowski - Ward County) "Three years ago Williams County built a new facility and Sheriff Busching said never did I think we would fill it and now we are running at maximum capacity there as well."
Kukowski is worried about Ward County, however he is hopeful that with voters approval, the problem might get a boost next month. At the Ward County Jail, Perry Olson, KX News. >>
The jail expansion would be a part of the 40 million dollar building proposal that would also include renovations to the courthouse, and a new county office building.
The question of adding a half cent sales tax to pay for the improvements is on the November ballot.