Report: Navajo Nation Built Jails Much Larger Than Needed

Published: Friday, October 2, 2015 - 12:55pm
Updated: Friday, October 2, 2015 - 4:21pm

A new report contends the Navajo Nation wasted more than $30 million in federal funds by building excessively large jails.

The report from the U.S. Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General says the spending deprived other tribes of money for justice systems.

The tribe received $70 million in stimulus funding from the Justice Department to construct the jails in Tuba City and Kayenta. Tuba City opened in 2013. Kayenta hasn't opened.

A 2007 master plan called for a 48-bed jail in Tuba City and a 32-bed jail in Kayenta. The report says those numbers jumped to 132 and 80, respectively, without any documented approval.

Officials with the Navajo Nation and the Justice Department say the square footage of the facilities never increased and the projects were closely monitored.

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