• Navajo Nation’s New Jail Costs $3M Per Inmate

    Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety officials spent $31.7 million for an 80-bed jail that usually houses only seven to 11 inmates, according to a new report from the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General.

    The Kayenta, Arizona, jail was supposed to have 32 beds and cost $20 million in DOJ Office of Justice Program funds, according to the Navajo division’s original plan. But the 80-bed facility was built instead. The Navajos also spent $38.6 million on a 132-bed facility in Tuba City, Arizona, which usually houses between 14 and 22 inmates. Federal officials say they approved a 48-bed facility for $18.2 million.

    “The excessive size of both facilities will also create increased costs for operations and maintenance staff, which are significantly funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs,” the IG said.

    Navajo officials denied any wrongdoing, saying NDPS “did not construct facilities of excessive building size,” and claiming they planned to build larger facilities from the beginning.

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