A report presented June 7 on the county’s criminal justice operations recommended big changes to the system faced with rising costs and shrinking budgets. Yakima County Commissioners established an independent review committee earlier this year to evaluate the efficiency of our law and justice operations, which account for over 80 percent of general fund spending.

The department of corrections ranked near the top of the areas that need to be reformed despite deep cuts over the last few years. The committee recommended changing booking standards, releasing more inmates with electronic monitoring prior to trial dates, and having prosecutors resolve more cases by pleas, not trials.

The presentation was only the first step as the county takes a closer look at our criminal justice system. The commissioners will meet June 11 to further discuss the recommendations and will work with the committee during the next few months to address possible solutions

The information will be used to put together the county's 2013 budget.