Tribes face funding and training hurdles at jails
Tribes are finally receiving money to construct new detention facilities but hurdles remain.

Most detention facilities in Indian Country are overcrowded and understaffed. Many are falling apart due to old age, neglect and lack of funding.

"The walls are cracking," Rosebud Sioux Tribe President Rodney Bordeaux told The Sioux Falls Argus Leader of a 30-year-old jail on the reservation. "The air conditioner breaks down some days. Replacing this jail is long overdue."

The tribe has received $25 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to build a new adult jail. But the money won't cover training or salaries to operate the facility.

The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe found out the hard way. Despite receiving $13.5 million to build a new jail, the tribe hasn't been able to find all the staff it needs.

"We still are having a hard time with the funding being provided so we can get enough people hired to take care of the juveniles," Chairman Michael Jandreau told the paper. "Our juveniles are being sent away to various places, to Kyle and up to Standing Rock. And they shouldn't have to go to those places."

But just building a jail might change attitudes. The Navajo Nation has fewer than 100 spaces to hold criminals and offenders on the largest reservation in the country.

"Right now people just laugh because we don't have the facility," Barbara Johnson, a corrections supervisor on the reservation, told the Associated Press. "But once the facility goes up, hopefully they will have a change of attitude. If they break the law, welcome to our hotel."

The tribe will receive $74 million in stimulus funds to build three new facilities with 100 spaces.

Get the Story:
New jail, but no staff (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 9/27)
Navajo Nation Hopes Jail Construction Changes Attitudes (AP 9/27)

An Opinion:
Editorial: Jail project bodes well for reservation (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 9/28)

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:
H.R.1 | S.1

Related Stories:
Montana tribes receive grants to build new jails (9/24)
DOJ releases $236M for tribal law enforcement (9/22)
DOJ holds tribal working session in New Mexico (9/21)
DOJ to host tribal nations listening conference (08/20)