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AGO 1983 No. 24 - November 04, 1983
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Ken Eikenberry | 1981-1992 | Attorney General of Washington

PENITENTIARY ‑- PRISONERS ‑- COUNTIES ‑- CITIES AND TOWNS ‑- IMPACT FUNDS FOR ADDITIONAL STATE CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES

 Identification and application of criteria to be used in determining the eligibility of a community for state funds appropriated by § 51, chapter 76, Laws of 1983, 1st Ex. Sess. for the one‑time cost impact to communities associated with locating additional state correctional facilities. 

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                                                                November 4, 1983 

Honorable Amos E. Reed
Secretary
Department of Corrections
Capitol Center Building
Olympia, WA 98504

Cite as:  AGO 1983 No. 24

Dear Sir:

             By recent letter you requested our opinion on certain questions arising from what you referred to as § 3, chapter 79, Laws of 1983, 1st Ex. Sess.  From your description of the particular provision, however, we assume that, instead, you actually meant to refer to subsection (3) of § 51, chapter 76, Laws of 1983, 1st Ex. Sess. which contains the following appropriation and qualifying language:

             "(3) ADMINISTRATION AND PROGRAM SUPPORT

             "General Fund Appropriation‑-State.....$13,278,000

             "General Fund‑-Institutional Impact Account

             "Appropriation........................$ 865,000

             "Total Appropriation...................$14,143,000

             "The appropriations in this subsection are subject to the following conditions and limitations:  $1,480,000 is provided solely for the one‑time cost impact to communities associated with locating additional state correctional facilities."  (Emphasis supplied)

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            We will identify your questions and then answer them within the body of our analysis below.

                                                                      ANALYSIS

             Question (1):

             Your first question involves the meaning of the phrase "additional state correctional facilities" as used in the above quoted appropriation provision.  We understand the question to be asking about the applicability of that appropriation provision to the following types of situations:

             (a) Location of a new prison at a site where no prison is already located‑-e.g., Clallam Bay;

             (b) Location of a new prison at a site where an existing prison is located‑-e.g., Twin Rivers Corrections Center at Monroe;

             (c) Construction of new buildings intended to house and/or service the needs of prison inmates located within the walls of an existing prison‑-e.g., certain buildings which are scheduled to be constructed at the Washington Corrections Center at Shelton;

             (d) Reopening existing buildings within an existing prison which have not previously been available to, or used by the department for, housing or servicing the needs of prisoners‑-e.g., certain buildings at McNeil Island; and

             (e) Addition of new beds to existing prison buildings which can be accomplished without the construction of any new buildings‑-e.g., a simple addition of beds, without more, to an existing institution.

             As we view it, the critical word in the subject legislation (above quoted) is "facilities."  In turn, we believe the legislature should be deemed to have used the word "facilities" to encompass new buildings for correctional purposes (i.e., "additional correctional facilities") which are constructed either at entirely new locations or on the grounds of existing institutions‑-whether as new prisons (Twin Rivers) or as structural additions to an existing institution (Shelton).  In addition, we believe that the term also includes the practical equivalent of such a new building; namely, the reopening‑-for use in housing or  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] servicing inmates‑-of a preexisting building not heretofore used by the department as a correctional facility which, when thus reopened, also becomes an "additional" facility.  Conversely, we conclude that the mere renovation (as distinguished from reopening) of buildings already in existence or the expansion of institution capacity merely through the addition of new beds to existing living units would not qualify as an "additional correctional facility."

             In reaching the foregoing conclusions, we have been guided by the apparent intent of the legislature as reflected from language in the appropriation involved‑-considered, as well, in the light of language used in other appropriations enacted by the same 1983 session of the legislature relating to correctional institutions.  We note, for example, that when referring to the construction of entirely new prisons, the legislature consistently referred to such projects as "correction centers" and not, merely, as facilities.  See, § § 228, 230, and 232 of chapter 57, Laws of 1983, 1st Ex. Sess.  At the same time, the legislature used the word "facilities" with reference to portions of existing penal institutions in § § 231 and 235 of the same act.  And finally, in one instance, the legislature appropriated funds solely for "additional beds" without reference to the creation of any new "facility."  See, § 239, chapter 57,supra.

             Despite the legislature's use of the phrase "correction center" in referring to entirely new prisons, we think it beyond doubt that the word "facilities" would also include such projects.  We also believe, given the legislature's use of the word "facilities" throughout the capital projects budget (chapter 57, supra), that in the legislative mind "correctional facilities" include buildings located within existing prisons.  The word thus encompasses parts of an institution as well as the whole thereof.  Conversely, while "facilities," by itself, includes buildings at an existing correctional institution in order to qualify for the subject impact funds, the economic impact upon the community must come as a result of "additional correctional facilities."

             It is therefore our opinion, in direct answer to your first question, that impact funds appropriated by § 51, chapter 76, Laws of 1983, 1st Ex. Sess.,supra, may be expended to meet the economic impact to adjacent communities resulting from each of the first four types of situations identified at the beginning of our response to this question (a new prison at a new site, a new prison on a preexisting site, the construction of new buildings at an existing site, and the reopening, for correctional purposes, of previously unused buildings at an existing site).  On the other  [[Orig. Op. Page 4]] hand, we conclude that the mere renovation (as distinguished from reopening) of buildings already in existence or the expansion of institution capacity merely through the addition of new beds to existing living units does not qualify for such funding.

             Question (2):

             In order to set the stage for your second question let us repeat, for ease of reference, the pertinent language of § 51, chapter 76, supra; i.e.,

             ". . . $1,480,000 is provided solely for the one‑time cost impact to communities associated with locating additional state correctional facilities."

             Your inquiry, as we understand it, is whether a particular community may be compensated more than one time for an impact (or impacts) associated with the same "additional correctional facility."

             The critical language of the legislation, in this instance, is "one‑time cost impact."  What that language clearly means to us is that the "additional state correctional facility" involved must first be identified.  Then, once that "cause" of the impact has been identified, the next question to be asked is whether the particular community in which the facility is located has previously received any "one‑time cost impact" funds from the state on account of that facility.  If it has, then on that basis the community will be ineligible for any further impact monies, from the particular fund source here under consideration, on account of that facility.

             On the other hand, if the community has not previously received such "one‑time cost impact" monies from the state (e.g., under some prior appropriation for that purpose), on account of the particular "additional facility," it may now be paid such funds if otherwise eligible in accordance with the standards set forth in response to your first question above.1/

              [[Orig. Op. Page 5]]

            Moreover, once the amount which is thus to be paid to the particular community has been established, there would be no violation of legislative intent (as we view it) if the funds then were paid out to the community on some sort of installment basis.

             We trust that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

 Very truly yours,
KENNETH O. EIKENBERRY
Attorney General

WILLIAM C. COLLINS
Senior Assistant Attorney General 

                                                         ***   FOOTNOTES   ***

 1/In responding to this inquiry, and in conjunction with the foregoing point, we not that the 1981 legislature made a similar appropriation for the "one‑time cost impact" to communities associated with locating "additional state correctional facilities," by § 48(3)(d), chapter 340, Laws of 1981.  We would thus conclude that it would be improper to use impact funds from the current (1983-85) appropriation to pay for impacts which were already identified, and for which impact funds were distributed, in accordance with that 1981 appropriation during the previous (1981-83) biennium. 

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