Yakima Inmates Could Soon Be Shipped to Lower Valley - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Inmates Could Soon Be Shipped to Lower Valley

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- NBC Right Now is taking a close look at how your tax dollars are being spent. The City of Yakima is proposing a plan that would send some inmates to Lower Valley jails instead of the county lockup, a move they say will save you money.

Right now, when the city's 79-bed jail is full, inmates are taken to county lockup under the current city-county contract which expires at the end of this year.

In a new proposal backed by most of the city council, the city would instead send overflow inmates to the Lower Valley to be housed in city jails in Sunnyside and Toppenish.

Yakima's city manager says the move would save more than half a million dollars.

That's because it costs about $70 a day for an inmate to be housed in the county jail, compared to about $45 a day in those other city jails.

"On one hand we met the objective of finding potential places for our inmates and on top of that, saving money for the taxpayers. So, I think it's a win win," said city manager Tony O'Rourke.

O'Rourke says the city still plans to contract with the county though. He says a smaller portion of inmates, like those who need mental health evaluations or medical care, would still go to the county jail.

But, he says if the county is unable to accommodate the fewer inmates he says some could be taken to Benton County to be housed.