Weber County Sheriff asking for $62 million expansion of jail

Apr 13, 2022, 5:23 PM | Updated: Jun 20, 2022, 1:13 pm

OGDEN, Utah Weber County Sheriff Ryan Arbon has proposed a $62 million project to expand the jail.

Deputies said the current jail which was built in 1999 is getting full.

There’s not only a need to add about 400 beds to the general population but the medical and mental health wing is already in some very tight quarters.

Right now, the medical wing of the jail can only house about eight inmates. Deputies said it simply wasn’t built for today’s needs, which is why that is a major focus in the proposed expansion.

“Not a lot of space in that to work with the mental health providers that we have. The medical providers down in there they’re all kind of jammed into one small area,” said Lt. Cortney Ryan. “We have overflow into our booking area.”

It’s just one example of the increasing need for more space.

Ryan explained, “Kind of the idea was when we moved into this facility, a few years after, we would expand two additional pods to our jail and it’s just never happened.”

He said a work-release facility next to Ogden city hall is outdated enough that it would make more sense to build a new one, rather than upgrade it.

Sheriff Ryan Arbon is hoping for more than $60 million to get the Weber County Jail up to date. It serves the growing populations of both Weber and Morgan counties.

“We just feel that now was the best time to start the process and get moving forward with it,” Ryan said.

Ryan said now would be the best time to get started because inflation could allow costs to keep rising.

The sheriff’s office is exploring several funding options but it’s likely at least some of it would fall to bond vote.

“It’s to the point where it needs to be done,” Ryan said.

The Sheriff’s Office is also facing challenges with staffing just like anywhere else. Ryan said a recent law change is helping. It allows people 19 and over to work in corrections.

If the expansion is approved they would have about two to three years to get the staffing they’d need before it’s finished.

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Weber County Sheriff asking for $62 million expansion of jail