Jail Contracting & Misappropriations of Revenue

There are probably plenty of other good examples, some even more egregious than this, but let’s take a look at one of the more recent and politically charged examples of county malfeasance: The now infamous ‘jail mailer.’

That mailer cost county taxpayers $28,000 dollars to produce and send out to a targeted audience. The product itself and the reasons for it are bad enough, but what could have been done with that money instead?

I did some rough calculating based on the Snohomish county contract jailing rate of $62.50 per day (See link below) and this is what could have been done with that money instead:

It could have housed 1 inmate in a safe, humane and secured facility for 448 days.

It could have housed 10 inmates for 45 days.

It could have housed 50 inmates for 9 days.

I don’t know Snohomish County’s jail situation, but I’m confident there are plenty of other good examples in that cost range to choose from around the state. (I’m told privately that two jurisdictions in Whatcom County are already doing this.)

The point is this: If you’re a county official beating all the drums and going on a full media blitz to convince voters of the need to increase taxes yet again and to indebt county citizens with the largest taxpayer burden in Whatcom County history, based on jail capacity claims, isn’t it even just a little duplicitous to make that claim in the face of other safer and more humane options?

Jail Services and Alternatives to Incarceration

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