Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGLO 1982 NO. 3 > Feb 11 1982

The State Jail Commission may not suspend or withhold funding from a city or county for new jail construction or remodeling on the basis that the Commission has ordered closure of the existing jail facility of such city or county for failure to comply with mandatory state custodial care standards.

AGO 2004 NO. 4 > Dec 23 2004

1.  A county sheriff, as supervisor of the county jail, is required to accept arrestees presented at the jail for booking and housing pending disposition of charges, whether the arrestees are presented by county officers, by state patrol officers, or by other state employees with criminal law enforcement responsibilities.     2.  The county sheriff does not have authority to (1) limit the hours during which the county jail will accept arrestees presented for booking by state officers, or (2) limit the number of arrestees that can be presented during a stated time period.  3.  RCW 43.135.060 does not require the state to reimburse counties for the cost of booking or housing arrestees presented at the county jail by state patrol officers or other state employees, since this practice is neither a “new program” nor an “expansion of an existing program.”

AGO 2000 NO. 8 > Nov 15 2000

1.  A code city may contract with a nongovernmental entity for the construction of a jail for the city.  2.  A code city lacks authority to enter into an operating lease agreement for a city jail with a nongovernmental entity.  3.  A code city lacks authority to contract with a nongovernmental entity to provide overall management or law enforcement services in a city jail; however, the city may contract with a private entity for other jail-related services.

AGO 2005 NO. 8 > Jul 7 2005

The costs of providing medical care to a person arrested on a criminal charge but not yet booked or admitted to the jail fall (1) on the department of social and health services if some payment under RCW 74.09 is available; or (2) on the arrestee personally, to the extent there are resources available; or (3) on whichever unit of government has agreed to assume these costs through an interlocal agreement; or (4) if there is no interlocal agreement, on the unit of government whose law enforcement officers initiated the charges.

AGO 1984 NO. 11 > Mar 27 1984

(1) The State Corrections Standards Board is not required by chapter 120, Laws of 1983, the Minority and Women's Business Enterprises Act, to fix goals which would, in turn, necessitate that specified portions of the funds which are awarded by it to local governments be set aside for minority or women-owned businesses.(2) Chapter 120, Laws of 1983, the Minority and Women's Business Enterprises Act, applies only to public works projects undertaken by the State (or an agency thereof) itself and, therefore, does not impose any additional duties or responsibilities on local jurisdictions with respect to jail construction and renovation funded through the State Corrections Standards Board.

AGO 1993 NO. 11 > Jun 2 1993

Counties have the authority to define certain local offenses and to prescribe penalties for their commission including the imposition of specific costs.  Subject to certain limitations, a county may include as a cost a multiple booking fee imposed on persons convicted of such county offenses and sentenced to serve time in the county jail on intermittent days.  Such a multiple booking fee could offset the cost to the county of processing the individual in and out of jail.2.  A county does not have the authority to impose a multiple booking fee on individuals serving time in the county jail on intermittent days who have been convicted of violating a state statute.  The Legislature, rather than the county, specifies the punishment for state crimes including costs.

AGO 1980 NO. 21 > Nov 13 1980

If a city or town police officer arrests a person for committing a felony within the corporate limits of the city or town and turns such person over to the custody of the county sheriff because the arrest was for a violation of a state law and not a city or town ordinance, it is the county, and not the city, which is then responsible for paying the care, housing and board of such prisoner while he is in the county jail‑-both before and after arraignment.

AGLO 1982 NO. 25 > Nov 10 1982

A county sheriff or director of a county department of corrections is not authorized to refuse to accept custody of persons ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction to be confined in a county jail, or to release other prisoners to make room for such persons, for the sole purpose of avoiding overcrowding in violation of State Jail Commission custodial care standards.

AGO 1951 NO. 37 > May 11 1951

Counties without suitable facilities for women prisoners may arrange for their detention in other nearby counties.

AGO 1955 NO. 42 > Mar 18 1955

A county sheriff may permit a concession to sell tobacco, candy, etc. in a county jail where not prohibited by superior court rule from so doing.The proceeds from the operation of a concession in a county jail are public funds and should be reported to the credit of the current expense fund.The sheriff is not authorized to create a fund for the welfare of prisoners from the proceeds of a concession permitted to be operated in a county jail.