Program trades service for jail time

Print Article

A work detail program offered by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office allows defendants to trade eight hours of manual labor for two days jail time. (Courtesy photo)

Reporter Brett Berntsen contributed to this story.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has announced the creation of a program in response to the lack of jail space in the Lake County Detention Center.

The Sheriff’s Labor Detail allows inmates to work eight hours of community service in exchange for two days off their jail sentence, according to Lake County Sheriff Donald Bell.

A press release from Bell said that defendants are often unable to serve their full sentences due to a lack of space. Though inmates must pay fees associated with the program, Bell said they are far less than the cost of serving time in jail.

There are currently more than 800 people in Lake County waiting to serve jail sentences of varying lengths, according to Bell.

The jail will also start offering 12-hour overnight stays in its recreation room as another option for people to serve their sentences, the release states. The room can accommodate six prisoners at a time and inmates will be credited for half a day served per overnight stay, according the the release.

Speaking at a recent Lake County Pachyderm Club meeting, Undersheriff Ben Woods said that the programs are the result of an ongoing dilemma the sheriff’s office is facing.

“These are some of the creative things that we have to do because we don’t have the facilities,” he said.

In the three weeks the work detail program has been in effect, Bell said those involved have shown support and appreciation for the new alternative to jail time.

According to the press release, so far inmates have assisted the Sheriff’s Office with readying decommissioned police cars for auction, raking the court house lawn, picking up garbage on county roads and assisting a nonprofit entity with facility cleanup.

The same issue of overcrowding in Flathead County prompted recent construction to expand the detention center in an effort to accommodate more inmates.

“We’re always open to any alternative to incarceration,” said Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry.

Curry said he intends to watch Lake County’s program to see how successful it is before deciding whether to implement the same type of program in Flathead County.

Print Article

Read More News

Clothing store brings high fashion to downtown Polson

May 18, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Lake County Leader As the weather warms around the Mission Valley, local residents have another opportunity to revamp their summer wardrobe with the opening of Polson’s newest clothing store, The Rack. Offering a blen...


Read More

18-year-old takes top Mack Days angler award

May 18, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Lake County Leader The 2017 Spring Mack Days Fishing Event ended with 18-year-old Danner Shima of Kalispell holding onto his lead in the Top 10 category. Shima turned in 1,652 lake trout this spring, with 75.89 fish av...


Read More

Players to perform play of biblical proportions

May 18, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Lake County Leader The Port Polson Players continue their 42nd season with the Richard Rodgers-Martin Charnin Broadway musical comedy, “Two by Two”. The show plays May 19-28 at 7:30 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays, with...


Read More

Bison range receives log carving from famed artist

May 18, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Lake County Leader The National Bison Range can add fine art to its list of attractions, with the donation of an immaculate wood carving now dominating the visitor center. Officially revealed during an unveiling cere...


Read More

Contact Us

(406) 883-4343
PO BOX 1090
Polson, MT 59860

©2017 Lake County Leader Terms of Use Privacy Policy