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Determining Seattle's Municipal Jail Needs

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Seattle is participating in a regional process to possibly site and build a new municipal jail for cities located in north and east King County.
For more information, please visit the North/East Cities Municipal Jail Planning Web site:

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Seattle Municipal Jail Options

Seattle has three options and all involve building a new municipal jail somewhere:
  • Continue participating in a regional process with the other cities. The south end cities are likely to build a jail to meet their needs in the south end. Seattle is participating in a feasibility study with the Eastside cities to look at the tradeoffs between a single municipal jail vs. two smaller jails. The study will be completed in July 2008. Preliminary results of a feasibility study show the cities north and east of Seattle would cut their per-inmate costs by half, and Seattle's costs are also reduced, if these cities jointly build a misdemeanant jail.
    • Link to the NECC's news release regarding a possible joint facility

  • Build a municipal jail that will meet Seattle's needs. Seattle would fund the land acquisition and capital costs. The City could consider contracting with King County to operate the municipal jail (it could then be a satellite facility which would be part of the King County jail system) or Seattle could staff and operate it.

  • Participate in a regional process with the other cities and King County. On June 30, 2008, the King County Council of the Whole met to discuss legislation that communicates the Council's intent that the King County Executive extend the County's jail services contracts with cities by two years, and that the Executive consider negotiating a long-term contract with the cities. During this meeting, representatives from the Jail Administrative Group* (JAG) presented information to the County Council regarding cities' needs. On July 7, 2008, the King County Council passed legislation requesting that the County Executive extend jail services contracts with local cities in the short and long term, pursue expansion of the Regional Justice Center (RJC) in Kent, and collaborate on planning for additional jail beds.

Regardless of which option is ultimately adopted, the City needs to look at possible jail sites in Seattle.

*Composed of all cities in King County except Kent and Enumclaw, which have their own municipal jails and thus do not contract with King County for jail services.