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Butte Officials Worried About St. Patrick’s Day Arrests, Jail is Already Packed

Butte, Montana
Photo Courtesy of Jon King

St. Patrick’s Day is a big holiday in Butte, a community that boasts more people of Irish heritage than nearly any other city in America. Right now, Butte-Silver Bow County Undersheriff George Skuletich is attempting to make room in the local jail for an expected uptick in incarcerations on Friday, but because of a statewide problem with jail overcrowding, he’s not having the best of luck.

“We’re trying to make some room at the inn,” Skuletich said. “We attempted to get rid of a few inmates, basically to just get rid of them for the weekend and bring them back on Monday, but every jail in our region is pretty full. We were only able to get rid of three, I believe, two went to prison, to DOC, and one went out of state. Basically we sent out emails to our partners and detention centers throughout the state to see if they had any room for anybody.”

Skuletich says they were hoping to open up 20 beds before Friday, but that they may need much more room than that.

“When we started the split patrols, like we do now, we brought in between 90 and 100 the first year we did it, somewhere in there, and that includes Minor in Possessions and tickets and stuff like that,” Skuletich said. “The last couple of years we’ve had about 30 and 35, but it’s on a Friday again and it hasn’t been on Friday for a while. So we’re preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.”

Though the number of arrests have been up around 100 on St. Patrick’s Day in the past, Skuletich is optimistic that people are learning better behaviors. He says there were no DUI arrests during the last New Year’s Eve and hopes to see more responsible celebrations this weekend.

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