Pima County Considers Housing Inmates At Juvenile Detention Center

August 18, 2014

Pima County officials are reviewing a proposal that would send some jail inmates to the county’s juvenile detention center. Supporters said the move would alleviate jail overcrowding and could save tax dollars.

The Pima County Jail is designed to house about 2,200 people, but a study by the National Institute of Corrections said the county will need more beds in the next few years. So, officials may send some inmates to the county’s juvenile detention center where right now only 40 kids occupy a facility designed for 300 people. Pima County Chief Deputy Chris Nanos said the juvenile center would be remodeled so adults don’t mix with the young offenders.

"I’m sure it is pretty alarming to see that they are going to move these bad guys in with these kids, that’s the furthest thing we want," Nanos said. "We’re trying to find a reasonable use of a facility that might help us save money."

He said the goal is to avoid asking voters to approve hundreds of millions of dollars to build a larger county jail. Nanos said another alternative is to get judges to sentence more adults to wear electronic monitors and serve their sentences at home.