Commit a crime, do the time in Yakima, City of MLT decides

Yakima County jail (Photo courtesy News Talk KIT radio).
Yakima County jail (Photo courtesy News Talk KIT radio).

Getting arrested and convicted of a crime in Mountlake Terrace may get you an extended stay in the Yakima County Jail under a new agreement approved by the Mountlake Terrace City Council this week.

Since the City of Mountlake Terrace doesn’t operate its own jail, those convicted of misdemeanor crimes and sentenced to jail time are housed in various city and county jail facilities around the state of Washington. The city sought a contract with the Yakima County Jail due to its lower housing costs, city officials explained.

The City of Mountlake Terrace will pay a between $48.75 – $54.75 per day per inmate to Yakima County to house convicted individuals who have no serious medical issues or pending criminal actions against them. The figure will vary according to the number of inmates the jail is handling for the city. Yakima County will charge no additional booking fees under the agreement, and will provide inmate transportation to and from Yakima.

The agreement with Yakima County is similar to a contract the city currently has with the Okanogan County Jail. “Inmate housing costs are considerable less in Eastern Washington,” wrote Pete Caw, Mountlake Terrace Assistant Chief of Police, in a recent City memorandum.

In comparison, city officials disclosed that Snohomish County Jail in Everett bills the City $66.63 to house inmates, and adds a $95.94 charge for booking suspects.

The city has been looking for another alternative to the Snohomish County Jail due to an anticipated hike in jail rates. “Costs at the Snohomish County Jail are expected to rise significantly during the next year,” Caw stated in the City memorandum. “Projections indicate that a 50 percent daily housing increase is very likely.”

Yakima County Department of Corrections Director Ed Campbell sees the new agreement with Mountlake Terrace as a big benefit – “We hope it’s going to be for both of us,” he stated.

Yakima County operates a jail facility that can house 850 inmates in downtown Yakima. They already contract with all 14 incorporated cities in the county, along with other agencies such as the Washington State Department of Corrections and the US Marshall Service, plus several jurisdictions in Western Washington.

Yakima County officials are looking to not only fill the beds at their main jail, but have an available 300-bed facility located at the county fairgrounds. “We may open it up in the next six months, depending upon demand,” Campbell said.



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