Yakima County Jail Helping Everett Police Enforce Street Level Issues

Smith 5

Trespassers in Everett may find themselves in the Yakima County Jail.

We told you last year about an agreement between the City of Everett and Yakima County to use the jail in Yakima to help defray costs of housing prisoners convicted of crimes in Everett. At the time the plan was to use the Yakima County jail for prisoners who were sentenced to longer terms in jail. The cost per day of the Yakima County jail to house an Everett inmate is $54.00 compared to $84.00 to $200.00 a day in the Snohomish County jail. Another issue with the Snohomish County jail is it is frequently full and often turns away booking requests by Everett Police. If an arrestee says they have used heroin in the past 24 hours the Snohomish County jail has routinely refused to accept them due to medical concerns. That has led to many people arrested for street level crimes by Everett Police to immediately say yes they have used heroin within 24 hours. Word of this has spread around Everett and its become almost a defacto “Get Out of Jail Free Card.” The Yakima County jail has no such policy.

On Wednesday, David Hall, an Everett City attorney and point person for the Streets Initiative Task Force highlighted to the Everett City Council a recent use of Yakima County for short term operations. He said recently 14 people were arrested on Smith Street, north of the Everett Gospel Mission and were transported to the Yakima County jail to await their initial appearance before a judge. That has now sent a message to people repeatedly breaking trespassing and other low level crimes in Everett that they now will indeed go directly to jail.

Later in a briefing on the Streets Initiative, Hall provided more information on other recommendations of the task force focusing on providing more and enhanced services to street populations. That includes expanding capacity and increased use of drop-in day centers, providing things like showers, laundry, property storage, mailboxes and other services to help those experiencing homelessness. More services need to be in areas outside of Everett like the planned Detox facility in south Snohomish County. Another idea is implementation of a program to transport people who are stranded or displaced in Everett back to their home city.

There is also a strong recommendation for a “Housing First” model that provides “low barrier” housing for chronically homeless individuals. Hall summed it up this way. “Most homeless will remain that way if there is no permanent place for them to call home.”

You can follow the progress of the Community Streets Initiative here.

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