County Commissioners Assume Control Of Detention Facilities - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

County Commissioners Assume Control Of Detention Facilities

Posted: Updated:

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE SPOKANE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: On Wednesday afternoon the Spokane County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to take over operation of the county's detention facilities (Spokane County Jail and Geiger Corrections Center), effective June 1, 2013. 

The change in management was first proposed by Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. In May 2012, Sheriff Knezovich approached the County Commissioners with a proposal to restructure the Criminal Justice System by having the County Commissioners operate the County's Detention Services Division. 

The Sheriff's proposal called for the formation of a Detention Services Policy Board which would set the policy direction of the Detention Services for the community, similar to the Emergency Communications Board currently overseen by the County Commissioners. 

The board would be comprised of representatives from municipal, county, judicial and law enforcement entities within Spokane County. County Commissioner Al French said today's decision will make it easier to complete a comprehensive overhaul of the criminal justice system. 

"We have had a seriously fragmented system between the county, cities, state corrections, elected officials, and labor organizations. With approximately 70-percent of the county's $140-million general fund budget dedicated to law enforcement and criminal justice – we (the Board of County Commissioners) believe that having more control over how those funds are spent will encourage cooperation," French said.

Commissioner Todd Mielke stated, "I agree with the Sheriff's proposal and this is consistent with what we see in Yakima, Chelan and King Counties. We need to have a financially sustainable criminal justice system that appropriately administers justice, reduces recidivism, and is sensitive to victim's rights.  

It simply doesn't make sense for one set of elected officials to be responsible for the budgeting of these programs, and a separate elected official responsible for the day-to-day operations." Commissioner Shelly O'Quinn said that today's board action is a positive step. 

"The entire community is coming together to discuss the criminal justice system. The trend nationwide is to institute reforms and alternatives to incarceration. For example, pre-trial services, early case resolution, and therapeutic courts have already been implemented in Spokane County and are proving to be successful.  However, we think more can be done and Spokane County will continue to lead that effort," O'Quinn said. Following this afternoon's vote Sheriff Knezovich said, "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. 

Jail issues are a critical portion of the criminal justice system and one our community has been struggling with since 1995 when the Spokane County Jail was first identified as being overcrowded.  I hope that this change in administration will finally get all of the stakeholders involved and at the table to solve this issue for our community."

The Board action 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. 

The current system makes it difficult for either branch of government to map out a cohesive vision for operation of the Spokane County Jail and Geiger Corrections Center.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Barista-stand owner faces prostitution charge

    Barista-stand owner faces prostitution charge

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:10 AM EDT2014-09-01 14:10:27 GMT
    EVERETT, Wash. (AP) - Authorities say the owner of bikini coffee stands in Washington state banked more than $2 million in just three years because her baristas were also selling sex acts. Snohomish County prosecutors charged 52-year-old former nude dancer Carmela Panico with promoting prostitution and money laundering, alleging that she was the madam of drive-thru brothels throughout the county north of Seattle.>>
    EVERETT, Wash. (AP) - Authorities say the owner of bikini coffee stands in Washington state banked more than $2 million in just three years because her baristas were also selling sex acts. Snohomish County prosecutors charged 52-year-old former nude dancer Carmela Panico with promoting prostitution and money laundering, alleging that she was the madam of drive-thru brothels throughout the county north of Seattle.
    >>
  • Throwback Thursday! Look At 'Sunshine Shelly' Through The Years!

    Throwback Thursday! Look At 'Sunshine Shelly' Through The Years!

    Thursday, March 20 2014 1:04 PM EDT2014-03-20 17:04:11 GMT
    KHQ.COM - It's throwback Thursday! Here is a slideshow we would like to share of Shelly Monahan through the years! For those of you who have been in Spokane for many years, and saw her through her "Sunshine Shelly" days, you will probably remember the Shelly from back in those days. Enjoy!>>
    KHQ.COM - It's throwback Thursday! Here is a slideshow we would like to share of Shelly Monahan through the years! For those of you who have been in Spokane for many years, and saw her through her "Sunshine Shelly" days, you will probably remember the Shelly from back in those days. Enjoy!>>
  • Joan Rivers' daughter: 'Keeping our fingers crossed'

    Joan Rivers' daughter: 'Keeping our fingers crossed'

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:33 AM EDT2014-09-01 14:33:34 GMT
    KHQ.COM - The Today Show has reported that Joan Rivers is now on life support. River's went into cardiac arrest at a New York doctor's office while she underwent a "minor throat surgery" on Thursday. Melissa Rivers said in a statement Sunday that "we are keeping our fingers crossed." She's thanking people for expressing their support.

    >>
    KHQ.COM - The Today Show has reported that Joan Rivers is now on life support. River's went into cardiac arrest at a New York doctor's office while she underwent a "minor throat surgery" on Thursday. Melissa Rivers said in a statement Sunday that "we are keeping our fingers crossed." She's thanking people for expressing their support.

    >>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • 'Best Pig Out Yet'

    'Best Pig Out Yet'

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:04 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:04:37 GMT

     

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Pig Out In The Park brings in thousands to delve into their favorite fair-like foods and put diets on the back burner. But this year is a little bit different, because organizers are calling it the largest pig out yet.

    >>
  • Spokane Police to be equipped with body cameras Monday

    Spokane Police to be equipped with body cameras Monday

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:37 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:37:44 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Police Department will equip some officers with body cameras Monday, after Police Chief Frank Straub fast tracked pilot program. The Spokesman-Review reports 17 officers will receive the cameras designed to promote accountability and transparency within the police force. >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Police Department will equip some officers with body cameras Monday, after Police Chief Frank Straub fast tracked pilot program. The Spokesman-Review reports 17 officers will receive the cameras designed to promote accountability and transparency within the police force. >>
  • Police in Oregon say scene 'safe' after standoff

    Police in Oregon say scene 'safe' after standoff

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:36 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:36:56 GMT
    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Police have detained a man after a brief standoff near Interstate 84 in northeast Portland, Oregon. Sgt. Pete Simpson of the Portland Police Bureau said Monday afternoon the scene is now "safe." Authorities had earlier closed a section of the highway after a man with a gun was spotted and officers tried to negotiate with him.>>
    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Police have detained a man after a brief standoff near Interstate 84 in northeast Portland, Oregon. Sgt. Pete Simpson of the Portland Police Bureau said Monday afternoon the scene is now "safe." Authorities had earlier closed a section of the highway after a man with a gun was spotted and officers tried to negotiate with him.>>