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Jail overcrowding could mean service for some Butte offenders

Posted at 9:19 AM, Jul 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-19 11:19:49-04

BUTTE – The Butte jail is short on space, but has no shortage of inmates.

That’s why city officials are considering sentencing some offenders to community service rather than time behind bars.

“And they can work off their fines as well while they do community service and they can work off jail time at the same time, so it should lighten up some of the load on our detention center,” said Butte Sheriff Ed Lester.

The city court will sentence some non-violent misdemeanor offenders to do cleanup work, weed removal and other tasks in the community.

“So the community gets a benefit in that some of the areas are cleaned up and look a lot better. The offenders get a benefit because they’re not sitting in jail and we’re not paying for them to sit in jail and they’re not just sitting on their you-know-what, they’re getting out in the community and doing some good and working off their offenses and hopefully there’s some good for the community as well as a deterrent effect,” Lester said.

Overcrowding in Butte’s jail has been a problem in recent years.

Lake County is currently using a similar program due to overcrowding in the Polson jail.