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Determining Seattle's Municipal Jail Needs

Notice: This Web site no longer being updated.
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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Why Seattle Needs a Municipal Jail
Managing Jail Population
Some Offenses Require
Jail Time
Projected Number of
Jail Beds
Site Selection
Jail Design Options
Community Input & Outreach
Questions / Comments
Additional Resources

Some Offenses Require Jail Time

  • Some misdemeanor offenses require jail time regardless of diversion and treatment programs.
    • State law requires that people sentenced for driving under the influence (DUI) serve jail time. For example, someone with one prior DUI conviction must spend at least 30 to 45 days in jail; someone with two or three prior DUI convictions must spend at least 90 to 120 days in jail. 
    • Domestic violence charges are a mandatory arrest and booking in jail.
    • Thirty-three percent of the people booked in jail were previously diverted from jail or released from jail – but then failed to come back to court, resulting in arrest.
    • Seattle police officers book almost 1,000 people per month at King County – that’s too many people to process through one of the local city jails (such as Renton or Issaquah) or to take to Yakima (where the City currently houses some sentenced offenders).
    • While diversion and treatment are important, not everyone successfully completes the programs. About 45 percent of defendants complete Day Reporting and 32 percent of defendants successfully complete Community Court. 
  • Alternatives to jail and treatment affect the size of the jail – but cannot replace the need for a jail.