Spokane sheriff doesn't want Pine Lodge for jail - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane sheriff doesn't want Pine Lodge for jail

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Sgt. Dave Reagan | Spokane County Sheriff's Office

MEDICAL LAKE, Wash. - Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and members of his detention services staff toured the Pine Lodge Corrections Center in Medical Lake Wednesday and determined the site is not suitable for a new Spokane County Jail.

However, he urged state officials to keep the center open, stating it is a valuable resource for both Spokane County and the inmates who rotate through its programs.

"Having inmates' families nearby as they transition back into society is a tremendous means of support to these women," he said.  "It increases the chance that the inmates will be successful and reduces the chance of recidivism which lessens the burden on the taxpayer."

The sheriff said the Pine Lodge facility gives families on the eastern side of the state the chance to interact with their incarcerated loved one.  Many would not be able to afford the expense of travel to the center's western counterpart.

Rating the facility unacceptable for a new Spokane County Jail, the sheriff said the facility's construction is inadequate to house medium and maximum security inmates.  Only with very expensive and extensive remodeling would the site qualify as a new jail, and the cost outweighs potential benefits.

Pine Lodge had been considered as a potential new jail site ever since the governor announced it might be closed in a cost-cutting measure.

Wednesday's tour was the first opportunity for the sheriff, county commissioners and other interested parties to get a hands-on look at the center's construction and layout.

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