Jail Design Options

Notice: This Web site is no longer being updated.
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

Seattle Municipal Jail Design Options

The North/East Cities have three options and all involve building a new municipal jail somewhere:

  • Continue participating in a regional process with the other cities. The south end cities are working together to develop a plan to meet their jail needs in the south end. The cities in northern and eastern King County, including Seattle, have formed the North/East Cities group to jointly plan for their municipal jail needs. The NEC hired a consultant who specializes in correctional facilities, Carter Goble Lee (CGL), to look at the tradeoffs between a single municipal jail vs. multiple smaller jails. The study showed that there would be significant savings, primarily in operating costs, if these cities jointly build a misdemeanant jail.
    • Link to CGL study
    • Link to news release regarding a possible joint facility
    • Link to news release regarding regional siting evaluation
  • Participate in a regional process with the other cities and King County. On July 7, 2008, the King County Council passed legislation requesting that the County Executive begin negotiations with cities for a possible extension of jail services, prepare a proposal for the expansion of the Regional Justice Center (RJC) in Kent, and collaborate on planning for additional jail beds. The NEC and King County have also been exploring the possibility of developing an annex to the County jail in downtown Seattle.
    • Link to King County’s news release on jail planning
    • Link to King County’s report on jail planning
    • Link to Seattle’s news release regarding the County Council’s action
    • Link to the JAG’s PowerPoint presentation to County Councilmembers
    • Link to Frequently Asked Questions specifically related to the County’s proposal
  • Build multiple municipal jails to meet individual cities’ needs. The cities would need to find ways to meet their responsibility for misdemeanants, including the possibilities of building jails and contracting with other jurisdictions. The City of Seattle, for example, would identify a site within its city limits and fund the land acquisition and capital costs. Cities could consider contracting with King County to operate their municipal jails or they could staff and operate it.