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To save on jail costs, Federal Way will send inmates to Chelan County

In an effort to save money, Federal Way will likely start housing a portion of its inmates in Chelan County.

Yakima County jail is used to house a significant number of the city's sentenced jail birds, but costs to keep misdemeanants there will rise in 2011. To avoid the increased costs, Federal Way is expected to discontinue its contract with the jail and instead take up a contract to house misdemeanants at the Chelan County Regional Justice Center.

Beginning next year, Yakima's prices will jump from $75 to $110 per prisoner per day. Chelan County jail charges $70 per prisoner per day. The contract reflects a savings of $40 per misdemeanant per day. The deal is hard to turn down.

"We want to be good stewards of the taxpayers' money," Federal Way police Cmdr. Stan McCall said.

The city has contracted with Yakima County for at least a decade, but is walking away due to the increased costs, McCall said. Chelan County has agreed to provide the city with the same services Yakima now offers at a cheaper cost come January.

"The costs are driving us to another vendor," McCall said.

Chelan could be home to the majority of Federal Way inmates. Roughly 45 misdemeanants are housed in the Yakima County jail on a consistent basis. Per the Chelan contract, at least 30 inmates will be located at the Chelan County Regional Justice Center on a regular basis. Additional beds will be made accessible when space is available. The jail has indicated it may be able to house even more inmates than Yakima did, McCall said.

Like Yakima, Chelan County jail personnel will transport the misdemeanants. They will travel to Federal Way to pick up prisoners and drop off individuals due in court at least three days a week, McCall said. Yakima County jail currently transports inmates to and from Federal Way six days a week, he said.

The city will continue to contract with nearby jails to accommodate the whole of its prisoner population. The city's average daily jail population ranges from 66 to 88, McCall said. Federal Way has standing contracts with Auburn, Buckley, Fife, Enumclaw and King County jails. Those will remain in place.

The Chelan contract is temporary as the city awaits the opening of the South Correctional Facility (SCORE). Come October 2011, Federal Way expects the 822-bed jail will be open. Federal Way will then move most of its misdemeanants to the new multi-jurisdictional jail, located in Des Moines. Its contract with King County expires in 2012. After that time, all Federal Way prisoners will stay at SCORE.

Learn more

Jail costs range from facility to facility. In addition, some jails charge a booking fee and/or medical fee. In some cases, there are also costs associated with transporting prisoners.

• King County jail charges $122.24 per day and a one-time $233.58 booking fee per inmate.

• Enumclaw jail charges $60 per prisoner per day.

• Auburn jail charges $75.35 fee per inmate, per day. No Federal Way inmates are currently located in the Auburn jail.

• Buckley jail charges $57 per inmate, per day.

• Fife charges $67 per misdemeanant per day.

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