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Federal Way saves money with jail contracts

Federal Way is preparing to renew three contracts and add another for the jailing of its misdemeanants.

The city contracts with Auburn, Enumclaw, Fife, King County and Yakima County jurisdictions for jail services. King County jail houses felons and misdemeanants, while the other jails only hold Federal Way's misdemeanant offenders. Service contracts with the Auburn, Enumclaw and Fife jails are about to expire. City staff recommends the city council renew these contracts. It also recommends entering into a new contract with the Buckley jail.

Because Federal Way does not have a jail, it contracts with neighboring cities to house its prisoners. Federal Way generates an average daily jail population of 65 to 68 individuals, police Cmdr. Connie Shupp said. Fife has housed Federal Way's inmates for approximately five years, Shupp said. Enumclaw and Auburn are newer contracts, but have also helped hold Federal Way's misdemeanants for several years.

"They'll keep housing our prisoners for as long as we need them too," Shupp said.

This would be the first time Federal Way has contracted with Buckley for jailing services. The contract would reflect significant cost savings, Shupp said. None of the other regional jails will accept female offenders. The city must pay higher fees to book these inmates into a county jail. Booking female misdemeanants in the Buckley jail could save Federal Way $300 for just the first night an inmate is held, Shupp said.

"We're always looking for facilities to house our misdemeanants, especially female misdemeanor offenders," she said. "It's going to be a huge cost savings to be able to lodge our females (at the Buckley jail)."

Biding time

The interlocal agreements, if approved, will provide Federal Way jailing options through December 2011. Construction of SCORE jail, located in Des Moines, is expected to be completed in fall 2011. The city wishes to give itself some wiggle room in case things do not go as planned, Shupp said. The city is guaranteed 10 beds daily and another 10 on a first-come, first-serve basis at the Fife jail, according to a draft of the interlocal agreement. Buckley will reserve a minimum of five beds daily for Federal Way inmates. The Auburn and Enumclaw jails will provide beds on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Service costs and restrictions

Expenses for the jailing services vary, but cost less than King and Yakima county's fees to house inmates. King County charges $115.36 per inmate, per day, according to a draft interlocal agreement with Auburn. Yakima County charges $75.35 plus a medical fee, according to the same information. Buckley will charge the city $57 per inmate, per day, according to a draft interlocal agreement. Fife will charge $67 per inmate, per day. Federal Way will pay $55 per inmate per day to hold misdemeanants at the Enumclaw jail. Rates for the Enumclaw jail could jump to $65 per inmate, per day, if 90 days written notice is given, according to the interlocal agreement. Fife, Buckley and Enumclaw will not charge an additional booking fee, according to the interlocal agreements. For each inmate housed at the Auburn jail, Federal Way will pay $75.35 per day, according to a draft of the interlocal agreement. These prices do not reflect transportation costs.

There are restrictions on which inmates will be accepted at each jail. None of the jails will accept violent felons. Non-violent felons can only be housed overnight and Federal Way will promptly provide transport for the inmates to another jail facility. Additionally, the Auburn and Fife jails will not accept inmates that are injured, extremely ill, exhibiting violent behavior or are a danger to themselves or others.

The jails also restrict the maximum number of days they will house Federal Way's prisoners. Inmates may stay at the Buckley or Enumclaw jails for up to one year; they may only be housed at the Fife or Auburn jails for up to 30 consecutive days, according to draft interlocal agreements.

The Federal Way City Council will consider and vote on the interlocal agreements at 7 p.m. March 16 at City Hall, 33325 8th Ave. S.

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