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Spokane, WA 99260
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Detention Services Project FAQs

The following FAQs are listed by Detention Services Project.

Can the Community Correction Center be built without replacing Geiger?

The Community Correction Center is a vital part of our comprehensive approach to Spokane County's criminal justice system. But it is not the only aspect. Ensuring public safety not only requires that those who can benefit from recidivism reducing programs can access them but also means that there must be enough space in the jail for those who don't qualify for the programs and must serve their sentence.

Have partnerships for a regional facility been considered with other jurisdictions such as the State of Washington, the federal government or neighboring counties including Kootenai County, Idaho?

Sharing costs with other agencies to create a safe and modern detention facility and community corrections system is an excellent idea and one that we vigorously pursued. This included exploring cooperative partnerships with the State of Washington’s Airway Heights Correctional Facility, reaching out to the U.S. Marshal’s service and discussing whether surrounding counties in Washington and Idaho would be interested in partnering on the project. For a variety of reasons all jurisdictions declined to participate.

How much will this cost?

The project costs have been reduced by some $54 million from original estimates. However, the Sherriff and the Commissioners will continue working to reduce these numbers to ensure that the public’s safety dollars are spent in the best and efficient way possible.

Project Component Cost
Geiger Replacement $78,546,000
County Jail Modernization $30,532,000
Community Corrections Center $15,303,000
Geiger Demolition and Relocation $9,672,000
Site Acquisition, Infrastructure $6,222,000
Fees, Engineering, Overhead $59,215,800
Total: $199,490,800

The number of inmates housed at the Spokane County Jail and the Geiger Corrections Center has recently decreased. Does this mean that Geiger no longer has to be replaced?

The decline in the number of inmates in both the Spokane County Jail and the Geiger Correctional Center is good news. But this seems to be a short term situation as the numbers have resumed climbing. We know that the Spokane County Jail has been overcrowded since the mid-1990s and remains overcrowded today. The jail was built to hold 472 inmates; its average daily population over the past 15 years has been 644 people. Geiger Correction Center serves as an overflow facility but is limited to lower risk inmates. This means little pressure is taken off the main jail because only a select few offenders can be safely housed at Geiger.  And because arrests have also increased over the past two years it's clear that Geiger still must be replaced to ensure that enough space is available in the existing jail to hold accountable those who do not qualify for community corrections programs.

What is the Community Corrections Center?

The Community Corrections Center will house several comprehensive programs designed to reduce the number of people returning to jail. The Center itself will be located on the County Campus because of its easy access to transportation and other necessary services.

Current community corrections programs are based at the Geiger Corrections Center and include:

  • Parenting
  • Cognitive Programs
  • GED
  • Drug and Alcohol Treatment
  • Community Service
  • Work Crews
  • Work Release

Plans are in place to add Anger Management, Work Search and Computer Skills programs later this year. All of these programs will be based at the downtown Community Correction Center when it is built.

What is this project?

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office began developing a comprehensive capital improvement and management plan when Spokane International Airport announced that the Geiger Correctional Center’s lease would not be renewed upon its 2013 expiration. Among the goals of this plan are a new corrections facility that absorbs the future lost bed space at Geiger, reduces overcrowding in the current Spokane County Jail and improves inmate and public safety. A key component of this project is an innovative and sustainable Community Corrections Center to house existing and future programs designed to equip offenders with the necessary life skills to help them become productive citizens and avoid returning to jail.

When will we vote on this proposal?

Spokane County residents will decide when this issue will be placed on the ballot. A vote could come as soon as 2012.

Why must the Geiger Corrections Center be replaced?

Geiger is an outdated, expensive and inefficient detention center that was not designed for its current use. A safe and modern replacement for the former WWII era Army barracks will ensure that all local, state and federal standards are met; staff and inmate safety will also be paramount.

Why not remodel Geiger Corrections Facility instead?

The Geiger Correction Center building is in such as state that it would have to be razed rather than remodeled; the amount of land available at the current site is not enough to accommodate the safe and modern detention facility that is required. Geiger location on property leased from Spokane International Airport is also of concern. The SIA Board of Directors’ says a correctional facility is incompatible with the airport’s long term goals and has chosen not extend the current lease beyond the 2013 expiration. The Spokane County Board of Commissioners and the Spokane County Sheriff’s office agree with that decision. The SIA board is working with Spokane County to ensure that Geiger remains open if movement toward replacing the aging detention center continues.

Why was the property near the Medical Lake Interchange along I-90 chosen to build a replacement for the Geiger Corrections Facility?

Why was property on the West Plains along I-90 chosen to build a replacement for the Geiger Corrections Facility?

Spokane County conducted two lengthy and comprehensive studies to determine the best place to site a replacement structure for Geiger and the Community Correction Center. The West Plains site just off the Medical Lake Interchange was chosen because it best meets the requirements for a safe and modern detention center. Expandability, flexibility and cost are also critical requirements. The 40 acre parcel chosen for this portion of the project is just a few minutes from Downtown Spokane, will support the necessary infrastructure and has access to public transportation. Building on the site will save some $54 million over a County Campus location---a much better use of the taxpayers’ investment.

Why will the Community Corrections Center be housed downtown rather than on the West Plains?

The people who qualify for any of the seven Community Corrections program now operated by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office are selected after they’ve demonstrated their willingness to participate, ability to learn and likelihood of success. The means than a convenient, easily accessible and well designed building should be placed near where the participants reside. In most cases this is in Spokane. The downtown Spokane County campus is an urban location with good public transit, parking and access to other services and agencies and is the best choice for the Community Corrections Center.

Will the Community Correction Center house sex offenders?