The Spokane County Detention Services Director resigned Wednesday morning after multiple deaths occurred at the county jail this past year.
Director John McGrath announced his decision to resign in an email Wednesday morning, explaining the “time is right for me to step down as the Director of Detention Services and pass the baton onto new leadership.”
McGrath served in law enforcement for 25 years and served Spokane for 12.
Prior to McGrath’s resignation, Spokane Co. jail had eight inmates die since June 2017. In one case in Aug. 2018, McGrath said he hoped to get help from experts to address the jail’s policies on suicide.
“While this death remains under investigation, the other recent losses of life at the jail have hastened our focus on enlisting the help of nationally recognized consultants to address our policies regarding suicide prevention and medical emergencies,” McGrath said.
A month later, the jail added a new program to help inmates experiencing opioid withdrawals. Administrators teamed up with healthcare company NaphCare to help patients withdraw safely while also reducing the sickness associated with withdrawals.
“From our perspective, managing people who are going through crisis and having those medical issues, it’s a lot easier when they feel better,” McGrath said.
McGrath’s last day as director will be Feb. 18. Jared Webley, Spokane County’s Public Information Officer, said the county will form an interim plan with a long-term plan to follow shortly thereafter.
“We wish him luck, he has been a good director since he started in 2013,” Webley said.