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Navajo Nation Lacks Funding To Complete Jails

Audio

Aired 4/2/13

The Navajo Nation has one of the highest crime rates of any Indian reservation in the country. The tribe is trying to address the problem. One of the critical issues it faces right now is lack of funding for much-needed new jails.

Tuba City corrections supervisor Robbin Preston shows off the new jail. He needs funding for 110 officers and staff to run the facility.

— The Navajo Nation has one of the highest crime rates of any Indian reservation in the country. The tribe is trying to address the problem. One of the critical issues it faces right now is lack of funding for much-needed new jails.

The tribe has completed two of seven planned jails, mostly with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars. Builders are supposed to begin a third this month. Construction is now on hold for four remaining jails.

The Navajo Nation Department of Corrections plans to spend about $204.8 million to finish them, but has a budget shortfall of $185.2 million, according to a department presentation. In Tuba City the new 136-bed facility replaced the tiny jail that could only hold a few prisoners at a time.

Even with the new jail there’s not enough money to hire the needed staff, so many of the cells remain empty. Tribal leaders are looking at various funding sources, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | April 3, 2013 at 10:11 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

What is the population of the Navajo Nation?

Do they really need SEVEN jails?

It's sad, but the over-bloated glutton known as the U.S. Prison Industrial Complex has even invaded our Natice American communities.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | April 3, 2013 at 12:25 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Seems like building more schools and technical training centers would be a better way to eliminate poverty and unemployment which leads to alcoholism and crime amongst Native Americans.

But hey, Barack "Black Eagle" Obama was made an honorary member of the Crow Tribe in 2008. He paid them enough lip service to get elected twice, so now with their usefulness gone, Black Eagle can lock them up. How sad.

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Avatar for user 'shelly_benjamin_III'

shelly_benjamin_III | April 4, 2013 at 10:43 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

I don't think the Navajo Nation needs to build any corrections facilities. What are sorely needed are jobs, and if they can come up with economic plan to address this need, a lot o of idle people won't have to turn to crime to make ends meet. The leadership of the Navajo Nation is very weak, and akin to like trying to nail Jello to a wall.

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