September 6, 4:06 PM click here to comment > 1
Council approves jail agreement
Just over a year ago, the City was considering spending $200 million on a new jail. Today, we took a final step in ensuring Seattle taxpayers can invest their dollars in projects that are a higher priority for them – like creating jobs, supporting our kids and maintaining the human services that people rely on more than ever during these tough economic times.
Today the Seattle City Council unanimously approved an Interlocal Agreement between Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine to use the King County Jail as the primary provider of bed space for the City’s misdemeanor inmates over the next two decades.
In May 2010, the City ended its process of siting a new regional municipal jail for misdemeanor offenders after receiving a commitment from the County to house a certain number of City inmates from 2017 to 2020. The new proposed contract would strengthen this commitment and extend its duration to 2030.
Since the King County Jail is located adjacent to the City’s Municipal Justice Center, the proposed contract would maintain significant operational advantages for Seattle’s courts, law enforcement, and attorneys. For the County, the proposed contract provides for predictable use of its jail space, leading to greater operational efficiency through economies of scale.
The proposed contract also reflects the long-standing interest by the City and the County in a wide variety of diversion, alternative and re-entry programs. These programs ensure efficient use of public funds by safely keeping low-risk populations out of jail so that capacity is available for those who pose a serious risk to public safety. Through the proposed contract, the City and County would maintain and strengthen their collaboration on diversion, alternative and re-entry programs as well as on jail population forecasting.
Posted by: April Thomas