SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. -- The Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously on Wednesday afternoon to take over control of the Spokane County Jail and Geiger Corrections Center.
The change becomes effective June 1st according to Public Information and Communications Manager Martha Lou Wheatley-Billeter.
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich suggested the changes in 2012. Knezovich proposed restructuring the criminal justice system by having the County Commissioners operate the County's Detention Services Division. The Sheriff proposed forming a Detention Services Policy Board which would set the policy. The board will be comprised of representatives from municipal, county, judicial and law enforcement entities within Spokane County.
“We have had a seriously fragmented system between the county, cities, state corrections, elected officials, and labor organizations,” said County Commissioner Al French.
He said that having more control over funding will encourage cooperation. Seventy percent of the county’s $140-million general fund budget dedicated to law enforcement and criminal justice.
“It is time to rethink how we deliver services to the community and to ensure all of the partners have an equal voice in these discussions,” said Knezovich.”
County leaders said that the changes will also eliminate the dual leadership issues which arise from the finances of Detention Services being directed by the Board of County Commissioners and the operational direction being set by the Sheriff.