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.
- 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.
- 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.
In any of these options, a jail must be sited and built.