SPOKANE, Wash. -- Despite a decrease since 2008, the number of inmates housed in Spokane County is on the rise.
The sheriff’s office operates two facilities: Geiger Corrections Center and Spokane County Jail. A total of 1,126 inmates were in custody between both buildings in 2008. The number dropped to 736 in 2010, but has since increased to 950.
The current number of staff members is only equipped to handle about 100 less than that, but the sheriff’s office anticipates the inmate population to increase even further. Captain John McGrath, commander of the county’s detention services, says this will turn into a safety issue if staff size isn’t increased.
Geiger began to be used for inmate overflow in the 90s, but the facility was never designed to keep inmates long-term. The ones that are there are meant to be minimum and medium risk. The majority of current inmates are classified as high-medium.
A project to add a third facility is on hold, and Sheriff Knezovich asserts Geiger should be replaced.
“It's about building the right size jail system that is designed to work efficiently with us, not against us. It's about always having a bed available when someone needs to go to jail. It's having a Community Corrections Center that provides evidence based programs for offenders to be successful, productive citizens in the community so they don't keep coming back to jail,” Sheriff Knezovich said.