TUBA CITY, Ariz. (AP) — An Arizona tribe that has long struggled with tiny, rundown jails is unveiling a new adult detention center Friday, but it won’t immediately begin filling with inmates.
The new 132-bed lockup in Tuba City on the Navajo reservation instead will open in phases because the tribe lacks enough money to fully staff it, said tribal corrections director Delores Greyeyes. The tribe is looking for a solution that includes searching within its own programs for funding and asking the federal government for help. Greyeyes couldn’t say Thursday exactly how much the tribe needs.
The Navajo Nation’s Division of Public Safety received more than $38 million in stimulus funds for the facility that also will house the district court and law enforcement. The award was one of at least 70 across Indian Country to build or renovate correctional facilities that often are overcrowded and unsafe. The tribe chipped in nearly $20 million, partly from an increase in the tribe’s sales tax in 2007.
Tribal spokesman Erny Zah said tribal officials were so focused on securing funding for the building that the staffing issue was overlooked.