- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 26, 2017

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Taxpayers in a northern North Dakota county have paid nearly $323,000 in jail and legal costs after a state report found deficiencies in its jail operations.

The North Dakota Department of Corrections investigated the Ward County Jail after inmate Dustin Irwin died in 2014 after being transferred to the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department in 2014, the Minot Daily News (https://bit.ly/2oJZ82W ) reported.

The investigation found that the jail in Minot was overcrowded and staff wasn’t properly trained.

The deficiencies in operations led to an order for improvements. Costs included a full-time jail monitor for up to 18 months, a special prosecutor and an acting sheriff to fill in for former Sheriff Steve Kukowski, who was charged in Irwin’s death.

The misdemeanors against Kukowski alleged, in part, that he didn’t attempt to get medical care for Irwin, despite being aware of a medical condition. He was suspended in 2016 and resigned April 15. Criminal charges against the former sheriff were dismissed with his resignation, and the county agreed to pay Kukowski a $75,000 settlement not to sue.

The sheriff’s department reported spending nearly $203,000 from January 2015 through March 2017 on salary and expenses for the jail monitor. Sheriff Bob Barnard said the corrections department hasn’t given an indication of when it will cease the monitoring. He said the estimated monthly cost to monitor is $7,500.

Last year, the corrections department opted to continue monitoring the jail to see it remain compliant for an extended period of time.

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Information from: Minot Daily News, https://www.minotdailynews.com

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