Citing lack of staffing, Mineral County jail closes for 2nd time in 2 years

Posted at 4:42 PM, Jan 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-24 20:05:39-05

SUPERIOR – KPAX has confirmed that the Mineral County jail will be closing for the second time in two years due to lack of staffing.

Mineral County Attorney Ellen Donahue says the decision came after a meeting with county commissioners and Mineral County Sheriff Mike Boone last week.

The closing is effective Thursday.

Donahue says six detention officers are needed to run the facility, but at this point they only have two, both of which still need training at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy in Helena.

With the closing, Donahue says it will give them time to complete their training, while also allowing time to hire more staff.

The biggest problem for hiring and retaining officers is centered around work conditions and low pay. The positions start at $12 an hour and only go up to $13 after a year on the job.

The five inmates in the jail, as of 3 p.m. Thursday, will either be released or transported to different counties, a process that’s already under way.

Donahue says they hope to have the jail back open by the end of April with a fully-trained staff.

The jail last closed in November 2017 for the same reason. Former Sheriff Tom Bauer resigned during that closure.