Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams is proposing reopening the Oxbow county jail to help with a crackdown on crime in the homeless community.
The crime sweep known as Operation Rio Grande in downtown Salt Lake has led to more than 1,000 arrests, and the county jail is out of room.
So, rather than sending people and money to jails in other counties – which is currently happening – Mayor McAdams would rather use that money to open a previously closed jail, freeing up more than 300 beds.
"We take people who are a threat to public safety and we have a place for them in jail, but we can still meet our obligations to help people who are sick and addicted to get stabilized and get them back on their feet," says McAdams.
This plan is part of McAdams' county budget proposal for 2018.
Reopening the Oxbow jail will cost over $7 million. Some of that will come from the state but the majority of it will be shouldered by the county budget. The county council will be debating that in the coming weeks.