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Cost of Prisoner Housing Rising… Officials Looking for Solutions

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Costs continue to rise as city and county officials look for solutions to housing local prisoners. Today, a joint city/county study session was held to address the problem. A number of ideas were talked about including the possibility of having one regional jail instead of one in the city and one in the county. Yakima city council members voted today to continue a study of the city jail. City Manager Tony O’Rourke says phase two of the jail study would answer some important questions that will help city officials decide what to do in the future. One of the biggest questions? The cost of a proposed expansion of the current city jail.

Yakima pays the county jail to hold 110 beds per year because the city doesn’t have enough space by itself. that deal comes with $2.2-million price tag. Not to mention half a million in medical costs, on top of that, Yakima spends another 1.3 million to run the city jail. The consultants who studied Yakima’s jail issue predict the average inmate population will keep increasing over the next two decades and so to will the costs. City officials hope to find a solution by the end of the year or early next year.

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