New $48 million Thurston County Jail sits empty

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A new 400-inmate jail built in Tumwater at a cost of $48 million to relieve an overcrowded jail in Thurston County has sat empty since it was finished four years ago.

It’s costing the county $400,000 a year to maintain what it calls the Accountability and Restitution Center, but there are no plans to move in.

The Olympian reports there’s a funding dispute between county commissioners and Sheriff John Snaza.

The commissioners say they put enough money in the budget to open the jail. Snaza says his overall budget isn’t large enough to absorb the increased costs.

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  • Don

    Common ploy, the commissioners will go back and forth with the Sheriff for a time, then throw up their hands and say the Sheriff is impossible to deal with, then either the state will step in and take over or they’ll contract the staffing out to one of the corporations that specialize in running jails and prisons. Probably mostly about power, the Sheriff is elected and the commissioners have no real control over him, EXCEPT his budget. Politics and maybe somebody’s brother inlaw will get a plum contract out of the deal.

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