The Yellowstone County Detention Facility population is said to be at a dangerously high level.
According to Captain Sam Bofto, the YCDF comfortably holds 286 inmates and compared to the current occupancy they are sitting around 500. That's almost double what the jail was built to hold back in 1987, and since then Billings has grown in population by 25%, according to the Montana Regional Economic Analysis Project.
Due to these conditions Captain Bofto released a statement saying at this time they are unable to accept any inmates unless they are a safety risk to the community, but good news is on the horizon. The detention facility is scheduled to break ground next spring or summer, an expansion designated for the females by adding 148 bed units.
Captain Bofto said, “I'm excited. You know the credit all goes to Sheriff Linder and the commissioners for attacking this issue and making the community safe. Making sure we have a place to house people.”
In the women's unit, 76 inmates are currently being crammed into what is suppose to be a single cell facility. Meaning most women are being forced to double up in a small space.
Captain Bofto said this new expansion will not only benefit the women inmates but also the correctional officers. “It's going to have the capability for us to classify females inmates rather than how we do it now is keeping them all in one single unit.”
With classifying the inmates, they are able to separate inmates based on behavior to help keep things more manageable, something Captain Bofto said they already do with male inmates.
He adds, with the new expansion the goal is not to increase the jail's populations.