Why Does Seattle Need a Municipal Jail?
Cities are responsible for jailing people convicted of misdemeanor offenses. People are most often booked in municipal jail on misdemeanor charges related to property (e.g., theft), driving under the influence (DUI), domestic violence, and criminal trespass.
Like many cities located in King County, Seattle has a contract with King County that allows it to house its misdemeanants in the County's jail. The County is responsible for housing felons and those arrested for misdemeanors in unincorporated areas.
Because of space constraints in existing County facilities, however, King County is requiring that Seattle and the other cities end their use of the County jail for city misdemeanants by December 31, 2012.
The City is not looking at building a municipal jail because its jail population is growing. Seattle's municipal jail population has dropped by almost 40 percent in the last 10 years. Seattle is looking at building a municipal jail because the City is going to lose all of its municipal jail beds when its nonrenewable contract with King County ends in 2012.
You'll find more information on this Web site about why Seattle needs to build a jail and where it might be located.