City approves deals to use King and Snohomish counties’ jails

May 4, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

City leaders approved agreements late last month to use jail space in King and Snohomish counties if necessary.

City Council members extended the interlocal agreement with King County to use the King County Jail through December 2016. The council also OK’d a contract with Snohomish County to use the jail there as another alternative. The interlocal agreement allows Issaquah to use the Snohomish County Jail through December 2014. The council approved the separate measures April 19.

“Given the volatility of jail space in the state of Washington, the city needs several options in place,” the Snohomish County legislation reads.

Issaquah and King County entered a jail agreement in November 2002. The interlocal agreement allows Issaquah to rely on King County to help handle inmates with special behavioral, medical or mental health needs.

The jail — in the basement of Issaquah City Hall on East Sunset Way — has 62 beds for misdemeanor offenders. Issaquah Police Chief Paul Ayers said the jail holds, on average, 41 inmates per day.

He said the city relies on other jails if inmates “have a need that’s mental or medical, then they go to King County.”

Issaquah also sends inmates to the Yakima County Jail, under an interlocal agreement with Yakima officials. The agreement allows Issaquah to use two beds at the Yakima County Jail.

Ayers said Issaquah needs the agreements with other agencies to provide for prisoners with special needs, and also in case officers in Issaquah or a contracting agency arrest a large number of people.

Several other police departments also contract with the city to send inmates to the Issaquah City Jail. Issaquah has inked deals with Bellevue, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, North Bend, Redmond, Sammamish and several other King County cities. Many police departments use the Issaquah jail only when crowding or maintenance requires the agencies to rely on the interlocal agreement.

Issaquah officers relied on such agreements with other governments in March 2009, when the city shut down the jail for three days so workers could install flooring. Inmates from the Issaquah City Jail passed the time at the King County and Yakima County jails.

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