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On May 13, 2010, King County Executive Dow Constantine proposed providing cities with 150 beds in the King County Jail until 2020. This move, coupled with current and potential contracts that north/east King County cities have with other jurisdictions for jail beds, enabled Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn to recommend ending the process of siting a new regional municipal jail to house misdemeanor offenders. For more information, please visit the King County Web site: www.kingcounty.gov
Municipal Jail Planning Project Background
- Why cities in north and east King County, including Seattle, need a municipal jail
The cities will lose all their municipal jail beds at King County when their contract ends in less than five years because the County will not have room in its existing jail facilities to house city misdemeanor inmates. The County has told cities they should be planning a replacement facility.
- Cities need a municipal jail because some misdemeanor offenses require jail time regardless of diversion and treatment programs
State law requires that people sentenced for DUI serve jail time; domestic violence charges are a mandatory arrest and booking in jail.
- Police officers need a facility in King County where they can book people into jail
Even if cities continue to contract with Yakima for some of their jail bed needs, police officers need to book locally and get back out on the streets. Driving five hours round-trip to Yakima every time an officer needs to book someone in jail takes officers off the streets for too long.
- Over the next 20 years, cities in north and east King County, including Seattle, estimate they will need a 640-bed municipal jail
Alternatives to jail and treatment affect the size of the municipal jail – but cannot replace the need for a municipal jail. Seattle estimates it will need 445 beds, while the other north and east cities estimate they will need almost 200 beds collectively.