Yakima County Jail makes deal to house more inmates

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- New inmates from the Seattle area will soon be shipped to Yakima. The Yakima County Jail made a deal with the city of Fife.

Yakima County sealed the deal to bring in more inmates to fill empty jail beds. The head of the jail said this was an important contract to close. It offsets money lost from contracts the jail no longer has. It should bring $700,000 into the Yakima County Jail.

Director Ed Campbell hopes it's the first of more new deals with other cities.

"The market is certainly different," said Campbell. "It's very competitive, very tough and there's very little need for beds compared to what it used to be so we continue to try to work towards getting contracts."

County Commissioner Mike Leita said Fife will send over low-risk inmates. Cities giving us their most dangerous inmates will pay more.

"We have certainty from them that these will be the lowest level of, best type of inmates if you will, therefore they afforded a very good rate," said Leita.

The contract means the jail shouldn't need to cut any more staff.

"I don't know where we can make any more cuts," said Campbell. "I think we made all the cuts we can."

But new positions won't be added either. The contract with Fife fills about three-dozen beds in Yakima. It's a start towards making up for the past losses.

Yakima County hopes this contract with Fife will be renewed after the first year. It's too early to say the other cities that are considering sending inmates here.