Navajo Nation builds new jail with federal funds; cost per inmate is this staggering sum

Navajo Nation builds new jail with federal funds; cost per inmate is this staggering sum

Navajo Division of Public Safety officials spent $31.7 million for an 80-bed jail that usually houses only seven to 11 inmates, according to a new report from the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General. That works out to between $2.9 million and $4.5 million per inmate.

The Kayenta, Ariz., jail was supposed to have 32 beds and cost $20 million in DOJ Office of Justice Program funds, according to the Navajo’s original plan. But the 80-bed facility was built instead.

The Navajos also spent $38.6 million on a 132-bed facility in Tuba City, Ariz., which usually houses between 14 and 22 inmates. Federal officials only approved a 48-bed facility for $18.2 million.

“The excessive size of both facilities will also create increase costs for operations and maintenance staff, which are significantly funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs,” the IG said.

The Navajo Nation denied any wrongdoing, saying its officials “did not construct facilities of excessive building size,” and claiming they planned to build larger facilities from the beginning.

This report, by Kathryn Watson, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.


LU Staff

LU Staff

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