“We Can’t Just Keep Doing What We’ve Been Doing”

King County Jail News

CM Kohl-Welles said the the headline quote at Tuesday’s King County Council meeting, where the Council voted to approve the SCORE contract to transfer up to 60 men from the King County Jail. This decision was made in spite of County staff noting that moving 60 inmates would not make much difference to address the conditions and insufficient staffing at the jail. CMs Zahilay and Kohl-Welles voted no. CM Zahilay said he didn’t feel he’d done his due diligence in exploring all their options, and CM Kohl-Welles specifically said she didn’t find the short-term solutions being presented (namely, this SCORE contract) to be very compelling. Several CMs called out the need to do the work to find better long-term solutions, including closing the King County Jail. 

Unfortunately, the danger now is that Executive Constantine might come back to the Council sometime in the next year or so asking to expand the number of inmates being transferred to SCORE. In the meantime, the County will be spending $3.5m in a stop-gap measure that isn’t a meaningful long-term solution. You can read more detail about this week’s meeting and some of the issues at play, many of which we have discussed here in previous weeks, in Ashley Nerbovig’s excellent article in The Stranger.

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