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County approves agreement with state department of corrections

YAKIMA - This year, Yakima County could find itself housing as many as 50 inmates for the Washington State Department of Corrections, thanks to an agreement approved last week by Yakima County commissioners.

Last week, commissioners approved a detention agreement with the Washington State Department of Corrections for the housing of state inmates. According to Yakima County Department of Corrections Director Ken Ray, Yakima County did not previously have an agreement like this with the state.

Ray explained that the Washington State Department of Corrections has been shipping inmates out of state for some time, and is currently contacting large jurisdictions within the state with large bed capacities to inquire about the possibility of housing state prisoners.

The agreement approved by commissioners is effective Aug. 1, 2004 through June 30, 2007, with the possibility of extending the agreement past that date.

Ray said the contract with the state could generate anywhere from $500,000 to $1.5 million a year in revenue for the county, depending on how many inmates Yakima County is asked to house. According to Ray, revenue from the state contract will be used to cover the general cost of housing the additional inmates, noting that all of the revenue goes into the general fund.

Ray said as of now it is possible that the state will transfer 48 to 50 inmates to Yakima County in the next month or so, adding that next year the county could house as many as 75 to 100 state inmates.

. Elena Olmstead can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or e-mail her at eolmstead@eaglenewspapers.com

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