What is the plan for replacing the jail?

Previous studies, such as a 2016 report, concluded the best solution is to build a new jail due to significant building deficiencies, projected costs, and limited space in the current facility. The Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) evaluated current conditions and costs to maintain the main jail facility in consideration with their belief in a healthy and humane jail and determined that the existing facility lacks the capacity to meet the needs of incarcerated people and should be replaced.

There was also common agreement, from the SAC, through IPRTF workshops, and through focus groups with BIPOC communities and people with lived experience, that a new facility needs to reflect a different approach.  

The replacement facility will be designed and built to enable secure detention with integrated services for people who pose a significant threat to public safety. It also will include an array of rehabilitation services and diversion options including facilities and alternatives for lower-risk offenders (e.g., work release).  Behavioral care treatment beds and services would be connected with these facilities as an alternative to incarceration.   

Learn more about facilities recommendations.

Show All Answers

1. What's in the Justice Project Implementation Plan?
2. Who is guiding the work of the Justice Project?
3. What is the timeframe for proposed projects in the draft Implementation Plan?
4. How is the work of the current Justice Project different than previous efforts and ballot measures?
5. How will the public be informed about progress toward implementation plan projects and goals? How will the county be transparent in tracking progress?
6. How can community members provide feedback, ask questions, and offer input on the Justice Project and Implementation Plan?
7. What funding is available for proposed projects in the Implementation Plan?
8. What efforts have already been made to increase and enhance services for substance use disorder, mental health, and emergency response in Whatcom County?
9. What incarceration prevention and reduction strategies are being implemented?
10. How are people with lived experience and BIPOC communities involved in this process?
11. Who will provide oversight for Implementation projects?
12. What is the plan for replacing the jail?
13. Will funding a new jail and behavioral health center limit or reduce funding for substance use disorder, mental health, and other wraparound services?
14. Who is in the Whatcom County Jail, and why are they in jail?
15. Why are people in the jail pretrial?
16. Can the County eliminate bail?
17. What criteria are used to determine jail size, and how many beds are being proposed?
18. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each proposed location for a new jail and behavioral health and treatment facility?
19. What are the cost estimates for all the proposed facilities?
20. How was money from the 2004 tax (ballot measure) spent?