A new development in the jail-site fight: The planning process for a new municipal-misdemeanor jail is still moving ahead, with a West Seattle site (Highland Park Way/West Marginal Way) among the 6 possible locations. However, the potential need for that jail (in which Seattle would partner with other cities) is moving further into the future. Last fall, the city and county agreed to a 3-year extension of the contract for the county to handle misdemeanor offenders; by the time the proposal got to the Seattle City Council Public Safety and Education Committee today, it had become a 4-year extension, through the end of 2016. (Here’s the council bill; here’s an explanatory memo.) It doesn’t cover all the city’s expected needs for that time, warned council staffer Peter Harris, so they will need to keep contracting with Yakima (and possibly the new south-end jail) for some space. But the agreement requires the city to confirm that it has no expectation that King County will be able to handle its misdemeanor-offender needs beyond 2016, which means the jail-planning process continues, though Councilmember Sally Bagshaw noted, “There’s little stomach for building a new jail.” (As noted earlier, Bagshaw is in West Seattle tonight, guesting at the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting at 7 pm.) The committee voted unanimously to approve the 4-year extension; it goes now to the full council.
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