The Restorative Community Coalition, led by Irene Morgan & county executive candidate Joy Gilfilen, has identified 15 ways the County has stuffed the jail in their Report to Taxpayers (p. 10-11).
It gets worse. When Whatcom County Booking ADP Information 1984 - 2010 (PDF) shown in the County’s Background Documents on Jail Planning is compared to statewide statistics compiled by the Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs, shown in Crime in Washington State 2010 (PDF) , arrests have reportedly spiked in Whatcom County during the recent jail planning years while statewide crimes and arrests are down or flat across the board.
For a full sized image of the graphic on the left, click here.
Worse yet, the audited Whatcom County Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the year ending 2013 (p. 206 - 207) reports that the Average Daily Jail Population has remained essentially unchanged from 2004 to 2013, averaging 269, well below the 400 to near-700 figures being fed to the public (including policy makers) by the Sheriff and County Executive. The bottom graph shows a general decline in commissioned officers consistent with the general decline in crime and more efficient enforcement. Not in Whatcom County. Here, Law and Justice has gained more than 30 employees while all other departments have lost about 20.
How big a jail do we really need? No one knows. That's apparently why a needs assessment has been avoided.