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Once they build a jail, they have to fill it to make money. The goal is not civil protection...

Posted by P to the J | June 26, 2008 1:42 PM

You are right that the proposed cuts to the criminal justice budget, especially those to the KCPAO and the courts, will have an enormous impact on prison population. Not only will alternatives such as the drug and mental health courts disappear, but City of Seattle (and other municipalities within the county) will be held responsible for much larger number of cases as KCPAO offloads whole classes of misdemeanors to its jurisdiction. Ironically, misdemeanor designation for certain crimes (e.g., car theft) can result in longer sentences in Seattle Muni than in the county court.

I don't know if this means that the city needs to build a jail or not, but we're certainly going to have more inmates soon enough.

Posted by MarriedToTheLaw | June 26, 2008 1:43 PM

Get Golob on that graph, it sure looks fishy to me.

Posted by wisepunk | June 26, 2008 2:19 PM

Whatever, you are completely wrong and have no idea what you are talking about?

Have you ever been inside king county jail?

I spent a weeks there after the WTO, and a week in jail in NYC and in San Francisco county.

Even ten years ago, King County jail was massively overcrowded compared to the jails in the two other places. You say it's not crowded but you don't have shit to base it off other than numbers.

Posted by Andrew | June 26, 2008 2:23 PM

Prison population projections are based on the number of school children who can't read by the third grade. Does that help?

Posted by Y.F. | June 26, 2008 2:23 PM


Um. After the WTO? The jail was crowded after the WTO? Was it really? Huh. Well I'm stumped.

Posted by elenchos | June 26, 2008 2:39 PM

Because basing statistical analysis off of numbers would be completely ridiculous.


Posted by Jonah S | June 26, 2008 2:58 PM

Trust me, it's still overcrowded.

While the general population cells aren't at full capacity, the holding cells are always over capacity. The holding cells, (large rooms with an average of 12-14 wall-mounted bunks and 4-6 temporary cots) are only supposed to temporarily house detainees for a couple days, until room is found in GP for that detainee.

Well, those holding cells averaged about 20 a night, sometimes up to 25 people would be in there, several on the floor. I even saw one guy get his bedding soaked while he was sleeping by dirty water coming up through the bathroom floor drain that overflowed.

It's not uncommon for it to take up to two weeks for that to happen. The problem in that is that while in a holding cell, you don't get commissary and you don't get a change of clothes and bedding. Also, once moved to GP it can take an additional week before you get a chance to order goods (like soap and underwear) from commissary and get that change of clothes.

While I was there a little over a year ago, I had open and undressed wounds and didn't get a chance to order underwear or get a change of clothes for a bit over two weeks because I spent about two weeks in a holding cell. All that time with dried and crusted blood on my outfit and no change of underwear... and you're not allowed to clean them there either.

I got pretty sick, my blood pressure dropped pretty low a little over a week in and I couldn't even get a single Tylenol for my cracked ribs and busted nose. I lost 30 pounds because I was so sick there, and it's only by some sort of miracle I didn't get MRSA like so many other detainees have (and now have a class action suit against that place for it).

You might think the people put there deserve to be treated like that, but remember that a lot of people held there are pre-trial detainees who haven't had their day in court. Some of them, like me, end up being innocent of their charges.

I'm not saying Seattle should be allowed to build a jail, I think they would be worse at managing one than King County has been... but don't go away from those figures thinking that they don't have overcrowding issues at that jail.

Posted by unwelcomed | June 26, 2008 3:52 PM

Amending the impound ordinance also had an effect.

Posted by Trevor | June 26, 2008 4:36 PM

Want to deal with the city and county budget crisis?

Stop arresting people for victimless crimes, and fill the jails with CEOs and CFOs who harm more people while confiscating their assets.

Problem solved.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 26, 2008 7:24 PM

The problem isn't that they don't have the physical space possibly available in KCJ. The renovations, from what I've been told by the jail, have been going on for years, with no real end in sight, and no real expectation that there will actually be an increase in usable space. Furthermore, they're having a horrible time retaining and hiring officers. The higher the census, the more officers needed - as it is, the ones that are there are not enough, and it's the feeling of some administrators that this is the cause of some of the abuses within the jail.

KCJ is a pretty horrible facility, having been able to work within it's walls and move freely from floor to floor (but not within the tanks).

You know that sales tax increase that was supposed to fund more mental health programs (including treatment court services and such?) Six months after we were told this was going to solve all our problems, increase funding and services, decrease caseloads, etc., we're now told of a budget shortfall, and that instead of expanding services, we're looking at our own jobs.

Ahhhh politics in an economic recession. Reminds me of watching The Wire.

Posted by Anonymous | June 28, 2008 9:35 AM

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