Yakima County Corrections Using Consultant to Help Figure Out Long Term Solution - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima County Corrections Using Consultant to Help Figure Out Long Term Solution

YAKIMA, Wa - A consultant is busy touring the county jail this week.  He's been hired to make recommendations on how to improve the facility and operations. 

"This is about making DOC better in the long run.  No quick fixes," says Steve Robertson, Director of the Yakima County Department of Corrections.

They're using federal grant money to bring in a consulting firm so they can solve lingering problems at the county jail once and for all.

"This is a critical inspection to say what is wrong, what do you need to fix it and get on with it," says Robertson.  A consultant from the National Institute of Corrections has been busy inspecting the facility and operations at the county jail.  

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know this building was built way back when under federal funds in a linear style and isn't anywhere near where correctional standards should be," says Roberston.

The biggest issue is trying to figure out whether it's worth the time and money to harden the ceiling on the fourth floor.  In November, nine inmates escaped from the county jail through the ceiling.  Another one was able to punch a hole in the ceiling earlier this month, but he got stuck in the duct work.

"What we want to know is how bad is it really. Should we be putting the money back into it... get some more years out of it, or should we be walking away from this thing and trying to spend the money more wisely." And Robertson says that could mean building a new county jail.

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