Purpose and Needs Statement
The purpose of the project is to:
- Create a sustainable detention system and facilities that ensure the safety of the community, staff, and offenders while meeting Spokane County’s fiscal responsibilities..
- To alleviate overcrowded conditions within the present facilities.
- Provide capacity to accommodate the projected growth in inmate populations over the next 25 years.
- Replace the aging and unsafe Geiger Correction Center when its airport property lease expires in 2013.
- Reduce recidivism.
The need for the project is primarily a result of the closing of Geiger Corrections Center in 2013 due to the expiration of the property lease and the increasing demand for detention services. Geiger operates from several WWII-era Army barracks located on six acres of leased land.
Due to its impending closure, Spokane County must plan, develop and construct a new detention facility on a larger site prior to 2013.
The total maximum inmate capacity in the county’s two detention facilities is 1,285. The Spokane County Jail’s designed capacity is 472; inmate populations are generally above 650 which means this facility is chronically overcrowded. The current “Average Daily Population” (ADP) for both facilities is approximately 1,170 inmates, which clearly illustrates that our current detention facilities are very near capacity.
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 jail has been retrofitted to handle an increased capacity. However, continual increases in inmate populations mean inmates have to sleep on mattresses on the floor. This also means that inmates must be locked down for extended periods and allowed out in small groups. More inmates also require increased staff to ensure a safe environment for both inmates and officers. The jail is frequently in a critical situation where it is in violation of Spokane County’s Ordinance Standards as it applies to correctional facilities.
The Spokane County Jail is managed by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office but is also used by several other agencies:
- 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
The increase in offenders and the lack of additional capacity shows that the safety of jail staff, inmates and the public is being seriously compromised. This also compounds problems associated with operational inefficiencies and outdated security systems. Our goal is develop programs and facilities that provide maximum safety standards for the public, staff, and offenders.