Changing of the Guard

At the Sheriff’s behest, the Spokane County Commission agrees to take over operation of the County’s detention facilities.

The County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday afternoon to relieve the County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich of management duties at the Spokane County Jail and the Geiger Corrections Center. According to SCSO information officer  Deputy Mark Gregory, the proposal to change the detention facilities’ management came from Knezovich himself last May.

Spokane County Courthouse

Spokane County Courthouse

“We have had a seriously fragmented system between the county, cities, state corrections, elected officials and labor organizations,” said Commissioner Al French. “With approximately 70 percent of the county’s $140 million general fund budget dedicated to law enforcement and criminal justice–we (the Board of County Commissioners) believe that having more control over how these funds are spent will encourage cooperation.”

Gregory also reported: “Following this afternoon’s vote Sheriff Knezovich said, ‘it is time to rethink how we deliver services to the community and to ensure all of the partners have an equal voice in these discussions. Jail issues are a critical portion of the criminal justice system and one our community has been struggling with since 1995 when the Spokane County Jail was first identified as being overcrowded. I hope this change tin administration will finally get all of the stakeholders involved and at the table to solve this issue for our community.”

“The Board action will also eliminate the dual leadership issues which arise from the finances of Detention Services being directed by the Board of County Commissioners and the operational direction being set by the Sheriff,” Gregory added. “The current system make it difficult for either branch of government to map out a cohesive vision for operation of the Spokane County Jail and Geiger Corrections Center.”

Under the action taken by the commissioners today, the change in management would occur effective June 1st of this year.

To learn more about this issue, read:

The View from West Broadway

All in the Same Room

Cell Mates?