After Garfield severs ties, Pitkin and Eagle counties formalize agreement for holding inmates |

After Garfield severs ties, Pitkin and Eagle counties formalize agreement for holding inmates

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times
Pitkin County may extend the agreement with Eagle County to house inmates so long as Pitkin is making good-faith efforts to renovate the their jail.
File photo

Pitkin County commissioners formally signed off Tuesday on a temporary intra-governmental inmate-holding agreement with neighboring Eagle County. 

Terms of the agreement call for Pitkin County to pay a daily rate of $61 to Eagle County for each inmate it houses. The fee helps cover Eagle County’s daily inmate expenses that include: meals, uniforms, bedding, and linens; use of the recreational and law library; use of recreational facilities; access to training and treatment programs; routine medical, mental, and dental care; and other services, according to the agreement. In the event that an Pitkin County inmate needed hospitalization or medical attention the Eagle detention facility cannot provide, Pitkin County would be responsible for finding and arranging care or re-imbursing Eagle for whatever care the inmate immediately needs.

Pitkin County commissioners approved the first emergency reading of the agreement Feb. 8, following suit with the Eagle County Board of Commissioners’ vote approving an agreement Sheriff Michael Buglione reached with Eagle County Sheriff County Sheriff James van Beek.

Buglione last month said the jailhouse would undergo repairs to its cell doors and bathrooms as well as other upgrades. On Wednesday, he offered a “big thanks to Sheriff van Beek and the Eagle BOCC” for the aid. 

This week’s vote finalizes the agreement that had an initial period of 120 days and, “So long as Pitkin County is making progress toward finalizing their construction project, at the Eagle County Sheriff’s sole discretion, the Sheriffs may elect in writing to renew this Agreement for up to two additional thirty-day periods without an amendment to this IGA.”

“I would like to thank Eagle County for getting out of a bind and letting us keep some of the inmates there on a short-term basis,” said Commissioner Steve Child, noting “hopefully within several months” the Pitkin County jailhouse will be capable of safely housing additional inmates.

Eagle County’s jail facility began accepting Pitkin County inmates on Jan. 12, after Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario on Jan. 10 severed an IGA he and then-Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo had in place for about two years. 

Vallario cited the outcome of the November election, which saw Sheriff Michael Buglione defeat three-term Sheriff Joe DiSalvo. DiSalvo’s campaign contended the 24-bed facility was outdated and too small to be operated safely. Buglione’s campaign argued the county did not need a new jailhouse.

Vallario said he was terminating the agreement because he was not confident Buglione would make the necessary changes to the jail. 

According to the newest agreement with Eagle County, “the Pitkin County Jail is currently under construction for a remodel project, and during this time, the Pitkin County Sheriff has represented that he cannot safely house all Pitkin County detained and confined persons and, therefore, seeks alternative housing and detention facilities on a temporary basis.”

Inmates are transferred to Eagle County if they’re staying for longer than 48 hours, such as those awaiting trial and those who can’t pay bond.

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