A Better Corrections System
The Community Corrections/Geiger Replacement is a comprehensive, 25 year plan that will do several things:
- Solve a chronic and dangerous overcrowding situation at the Spokane County Jail.
- Create an innovative Community Corrections Center to house anti-recidivism programs.
- Replace an aging, unsafe WWII era Army barracks that was never designed to be a jail.
- Reduce criminal justice operations costs.
The safety of jail staff, inmates and the public is being compromised because of more inmates and reduced capacity. Larger inmate numbers also compounds problems associated with operational inefficiencies and outdated security systems. Our goal is to develop programs and facilities that provide maximum safety standards for the public, staff, and offenders while ensuring that taxpayers’ public safety dollars are wisely spent.
Relieving overcrowding at the existing Spokane County Jail is paramount. The jail was built to house 472 inmates. It was retrofitted in 1990 to accommodate populations up to 675, but that means double bunking with many inmates sleeping on the floor. It is estimated that inmate numbers will increase at a rate of between 40 to 65 beds per year depending on improvements made to the overall justice system.
The jail was designed for “Direct Supervision,” but the continued population growth requires inmates to be locked down for extended periods and allowed out in small groups. This necessary change also increased the amount of staff needed to ensure a safe environment for both inmates and officers. The jail frequently reaches a critical situation where it violates Spokane County’s Ordinance Standards for correctional facilities.
The County Jail is managed by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office but is used by other agencies including:
- The City of Spokane Police Department
- Police departments of three major universities
- Six surrounding small cities
- The Washington State Patrol
- Fairchild Air Force Base
- The U.S. Marshal’s Service and other federal agencies
In addition, 27,625 individuals were booked in 2010 through an intake facility designed to process 9,000 people annually. The transportation unit of the jail also provided 27,325 transports to the courts in 2010. The transportation unit is also responsible for transports to the 9th District Federal Courthouse in downtown Spokane.
Geiger Corrections Center, an aging WWII era Army barracks never designed to be a jail, is unsafe and inefficient; the poor conditions and physical layout put our staff and inmates in harm’s way. Geiger must also be replaced because the Spokane International Airport Board of Directors has decided not to extend the lease after the 2013 expiration date. However, the SIA board says it will continue working with us as long as there’s progress toward building a replacement.
Another key component of this plan is providing a permanent home for the innovative and sustainable Community Corrections Center which equips offenders with the necessary life skills to help them become productive citizens and avoid returning to jail. This successful and proactive program reduces recidivism through drug & alcohol treatment, high school education, Moral Recognition Therapy (MRT), parenting and life skills education, and work search programs. Offenders become more productive citizens by learning necessary life changing skills.
It is expected to take approximately five years to plan, design and construct a new detention facility when financing is in place.