Jails across western North Dakota are being expanded – and that applies to facilities large and small.
Today, one of the smaller jails unveiled an upgrade.
Jim Olson reports from Bottineau.
(Jim Olson, KX News) Michael Sturdevant sat as a district judge in Bottineau for ten years – and watched as the region saw more and more serious crimes.
(Michael Sturdevant, Retired Disrict Judge) “I could see that we had some trouble here.”
(Jim Olson, KX News) That’s why he helped push for upgrades to the Bottineau County jail and sheriff’s department. And now, those changes have been made.
(Steve Watson, Bottineau County Sheriff) “This is great you know the safety and everything.”
(Jim Olson, KX News) Sheriff Steve Watson says the old jail was a crime waiting to happen.
(Steve Watson, Bottineau County Sheriff) “You could walk right into the offices where we were at and luckily nobody ever got shot or anything but they could walk right back in there. It was time to be uppdated.”
(Jim Olson, KX News) And so he’s understandably happy to be able to show off the new digs – with room for more than twice as many inmates and modern upgrades throughout
(Steve Watson, Bottineau County Sheriff) “This is a woman’s pod right here – you can see two rooms with a double bunk.”
(Jim Olson, KX News) A big improvement is dedicated areas for female inmates. Plus there is a dedicated medical room, a rec room, and a high tech dispatch center controlling the whole thing. Watson says even the glass separating areas is updated so inmates can’t watch what’s going on outside their cell block.
(Steve Watson, Bottineau County Sheriff) “It’s all mirrored. You can see out but they can’t see in.”
(Jim Olson, KX News) Four jobs were created to staff the new facility – bringing the total staff to 19 according the the sheriff who says the 40-year old former jail now has a great makeover to serve the area for decades. In Bottineau, Jim Olson, KX News.
The sheriff says the new space means the county will save costs related to taking prisoners to other jails while going through the court system.