Because you didn’t want to break in a new bunk anyway.King County

Because you didn’t want to break in a new bunk anyway.King County Executive Dow Constantine just made everyone who prefers not to live near a correctional facility very happy. How? This morning, he and Mayor Mike McGinn announced that plans for a proposed new jail would be put on hold. Explaining why, Constantine said that a three-year drop in felony arrests means that the overcrowding problems at King County jail are, for the time being, resolved. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, it comes after the city of Seattle took another significant hit to its already ailing bottom line. Previously, the County refused to renew contracts with Seattle, Bellevue and a few other surrounding cities to house their misdemeanor offenders, citing an uptick in felony arrests. So, in 2008, Seattle and those suburbs formed a commission to find an appropriate site to build a jail of their own. But after two years, and a whole lot of discussion, that effort has been halted. King County has extended all contracts to 2020. And as a bonus, there are less people in King County committing felonies than there were two years ago. All good news.But as the city of Seattle is under considerable budget pressure, let’s note how much money was actually spent on this currently stalled effort to find a jail site. According to Catherine Cornwall, lead analyst for the jail project, a total of $3.4 million has been spent, with $2.7 million of that coming directly from Seattle. Asked about the effort and money spent on the search, Constantine said, “Do I wish that they had not had to go through that process? …I do indeed. But that is in the past.”