Plans for a new jail are on hold after a district court judge ruled Friday that the language of a proposed lease agreement between Kootenai County and Rocky Mountain Corrections is unconstitutional. Judge John Stegner was tasked with determining if the language in a specific portion of the lease, which would bring a privately owned prison capable of housing more than 900 inmates to the county, was a true non-appropriation clause. The county hopes to lease the new facility from the private corrections company. Since Idaho law prohibits taxing entities from entering into long-term debt without a public vote, a non-appropriation clause is necessary because it would allow the county to terminate the lease at the end of a budgeting period without any further obligations or penalties. In a filled Kootenai County District courtroom, Stegner questioned Stephanie Bonney, a bond council attorney hired by Rocky Mountain Corrections. "The question is whether they (the county) are obligated to pay if they don't want to," Stegner said. "The way I read it is that they are required to pay whether they want to or not"/Keith Cousins, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (File Photo by Duane Rasmussen, of protesters outside court hearing Friday)
Question: So how do you propose that the county expand the jail to accommodate a growing number of prisoners?