Collaboration in Civic Spheres

King County jail revenues seen falling at least $10M short

by July 10th, 2012

A shortage of prisoners and a decline in paid services provided to them will blow a hole of at least $10 million this year in the budgeted revenue projections of the King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention. Revenues collected by the department in 2012 for housing and servicing detainees from contracting cities and the state Department of Corrections could decline even more than that because of further reductions in jail-eligible populations by DOC, according to a June 28 letter from County Executive Dow Constantine to the county council.

A DAJD fiscal summary also recently forwarded to the council shows the shortfall in expected revenues from the sources has been steadily growing, nearing a cumulative total of $4 million through May of this year.

The payments to the county are based on average daily population at county jail facilities and contract-related revenues, as well special health and mental health services and one-to-one guarding outside of secured detention, for prisoners the county is supervising for contracting cities or the state. The state detainees are ones who have previously served terms in state correctional facilities, but following their release were arrested in King County on new charges and detained briefly by the county while administrative details of their cases are resolved with the state.

Related revenues for DAJD were below budget by $757,705 in January; $649,159 in February, $784,308 in March, $808,126 in April and $869,627 in May, for a five-month total of $3,868,926 less than projected.

It is not clear whether the projected shortfall of $10 million or more in budgeted 2012 revenues derived from the detainee population might necessitate new layoffs at DAJD. Our calls to DAJD Director Claudia Balducci and the department’s media liaison Commander William Hayes have so far not been returned.

DAJD operates jails in Kent and Seattle, a juvenile detention facility in Seattle, and administers programs to help detainees successfully re-enter society; including alternative forms of sentencing.

Below is video of King County Central Staff member Clifton Curry presenting the findings on jail detainee population levels and associated revenue shortfalls, to the County Council’s Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee. Curry notes that these revenues go to the county’s general fund, and that budget projections of their annual amount have been higher than actual revenues for several years in a row.

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