Over the past several months, the cities of Kent and Federal Way have been in negotiations to establish a partnership in which Federal Way Police will be able to house people they arrest at the Kent Jail.

The Federal Way Police approached Kent Police inquiring about the feasibility of housing up to ten misdemeanor inmates at the Kent Jail in an effort to reduce costs. It is early on in the negotiations, but both cities hope to have a signed contract in place by the end of 2019. While details are still being hammered out, this partnership represents an opportunity for Federal Way to realize a significant costs savings over their current contract with the South Correctional Entity Regional Jail (SCORE). At the same time, Kent stands to realize modest revenues that would in turn be re-invested in the maintenance and upkeep of the Kent Jail.

Kent has had its own jail since 1986, giving the city the ability to manage costs, maintain a high quality of service and the inmate population. Over the years this has saved Kent taxpayers several thousands of dollars.

“It has been a huge benefit to both to the city budget and our ability to effectively incarcerate violent or dangerous misdemeanor criminals. said Chief Rafael Padilla. “We are very fortunate to have this resource.”

The Kent Jail has a 98-bed capacity on the secure side of the facility and an additional 30 plus dormitory beds for work release inmates. Currently, inmate population levels run below the 98-bed capacity, meaning that there is room for the Federal Way inmates. Kent has a contract with the Yakima jail to house its overflow inmates at a lower cost, primarily for female inmates. This same contract would be utilized to handle overflow from Federal Way should numbers increase to that level. This would still result in a cost savings overall.

Kent currently has had an agreement to provide three jail beds to the City of Maple Valley for years. That partnership has been very successful and it is expected that the Federal Way agreement will have the same success.

“We have a responsibility to the community to seek out innovative partnerships to both control costs while maintaining a high level of service to the community. We do that through regional partnerships like this one.” said Chief Padilla.

Scott Schaefer

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