Why is overcrowding a problem?
Whatcom County has been sued for “conditions of confinement”. To date, the County has won those lawsuits. Other counties have not been as fortunate. In some places, such as Maricopa County in Arizona, the legal penalties from similar lawsuits have been in the tens of millions of dollars paid to offenders and their lawyers.

Locally, we see inmate on inmate assaults and fights increasing as the facility gets more crowded. Some of these incidents result in significant medical costs. Overcrowding increases the risk of communicable diseases such as drug-resistant staph infections and respiratory diseases. Overcrowding can also trigger problems for inmates who have pre-existing mental health issues.

Overcrowding contributes to the erosion of the facility. The entire infrastructure to the building (plumbing, electrical, kitchen, laundry, even walls and doors) was built for a capacity of 148 inmates. The life of the building has been significantly shortened due to the inmate population almost doubling.

Show All Answers

1. Why do we need a new jail?
2. Why is overcrowding a problem?
3. What is the definition of an overcrowded jail?
4. What is the cause of the overcrowding?
5. What strategies have been used to address the overcrowding?