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King County shifts 400 inmates from Seattle to Kent’s Maleng ‘Justice Center’

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(The Center Square) – The King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention has transferred nearly 400 inmates from the King County Corrections Facility in downtown Seattle to the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

The county transferred the inmates to help balance staffing capabilities with the in-custody population, amidst a shortage of corrections officers.

The downtown Seattle correctional facility’s jail population was lowered by one-third, while the Kent facility now houses around 40% of the average daily jail population, according to King County. That is up from around 25% earlier this year.

Booking restrictions are remaining in place for non-violent low-level offenses. The county said these restrictions have lowered the overall average daily population by nearly 25% since 2019, from 1,977 to 1,470 on average.

The King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention and Public Health–Seattle were able to create a dedicated housing unit at the Maleng Regional Justice Center as a result of the transfers. The housing unit has served over 100 people needing medication-assisted treatment through Jail Health’s Medications for Opioid Use Disorder program as of mid-June.

The Center Square previously reported that the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention had 300 more inmates than was budgeted for, as well as over 120 vacancies in budgeted corrections officer positions earlier this year.

Last April, the King County Council passed an agreement with the South Correctional Entity in Des Moines, WA to move 50 inmates to the location amid the staffing shortage.

According to the county, recruitment efforts have hired more than 40 new corrections officers so far this year. The county is aiming to fill 100 vacancies in the workforce.

“Our work is not done, and we are excited by the opportunities that lie ahead,” Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention Director Allen Nance said in a statement. “I want to thank Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention employees and Jail Health staff and their representative unions for their collaboration in finding solutions for the people we serve.”

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