Stevens County wants the state to foot the bill for new jail

Katie Leithead
S-E Staff Reporter

One of the more pressing concerns Stevens County faces is the lack of space in its jail.

Stevens County Commissioners gave a report on the state of the county at last Tuesday’s Colville Chamber of Commerce meeting, and one of the issues they highlighted was the jail.
The jail was originally built in 1978 to house 22 inmates and two juveniles. By removing the juveniles and implementing double bunking, the jail's capacity rose to 43 in 2000. To help with overcrowding, Stevens County established contracts with surrounding counties, like Ferry County, to house inmates when the jail became overcrowded. This was a costly fix, a solution that has continued into modern day with diminishing effectiveness as other jails also become full.

In 2002 the Board of County Commissioners ordered a for the jail to address three main issues: to review the need for additional jail beds and space, to compare options for developing any needed space and develop options for financing any new development. The study was completed in 2003 but the situation hasn't changed much.

A 2002 a “Needs Assessment Study,” ordered by the then Board of County Commissioners, determined that for over a decade the jail's capacity had been “repeatedly pushed to the brink.” It has only gotten worse sense and has been a topic of concern brought up by commissioners every year.

Read the story in the April 25, 2018 S-E, available in stores and online here.
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