When Weber County Sheriff George Fisher hears there have been numerous arrests from a wild weekend, he worries there won't be enough room to hold the suspected culprits.
Even on a calm night, Fisher said, there isn't room in the Weber County Jail for the dozens of male and female inmates who currently crowd the facility far beyond its 148-person capacity.That news is not new, but the sheriff says the jail has now reached the point where it's bursting at the seams.
"It's relatively normal that there would be a few people sleeping on the floor, but it's worse now than it's ever been," the sheriff told the Standard-Examiner.
Keith Daley, chief correctional officer, said the crowding makes the jobs of jail personnel more difficult but, "luckily, we've been able to deal with the problem. With a situation like this, everyone is getting a little short-tempered, but we just do what we can."
Fisher said the women's section is equipped with beds for 18 inmates. A head count Monday showed the jail had 26 women in custody. Late last week, he said, there were as many as 30.
Daley said 30 male inmates sleep on the floor on any given night. In recent days, Fisher said, there have been as many as 50.
While the Weber County Commission has discussed proposals in the past to address the overcrowding, it has said insufficient funding has prevented the county from attacking the problem directly.
Fisher said the jail has been filled to capacity since it opened in 1983. The five-story building was built so that another two stories could be added later. However, he said, officials did not anticipate that they would need any additional space until the 1990s.
County Commissioner William Bailey said the commission is reviewing two proposals for jail expansion. "We do know we have overcrowding in the jail," he said. "In the not-too-great future, we'll be doing something to relieve that."