Lame Deer Jail Regularly Overcrowded
The Billings Gazette reports that the Lame Deer jail, built to accommodate just 19 inmates, currently houses 45, with regularity. Last year it saw as many as 62 inmates in a single day, more than triple what the facitity was designed for. And while crowding has gotten worse over the years, it’s been a problem in Lame Deer almost since the federal government began tracking prison occupancy back in 1998.
The numbers come from a recent “Bureau of Justice Statistics’ annual Jails in Indian Country” report. The Lame Deer jail has been operating above capacity since 1999– a year after the BJS began collecting data on Indian Country jails– when its midyear count was 20, just one above capacity, and its peak count was 42. The peak count is measured on the busiest day in June each year.