Washington Cities Vie For Prison Project

BREMERTON, Wash. — The city of Bremerton is among several Western Washington cities vying to host a 1,000-bed state corrections facility to be used as a short-term reception center housing inmates in between sentencing and long-term incarceration.

David Overton, who owns property within the South Kitsap Industrial Area, proposed the project earlier this week to the Bremerton City Council, whose backing he needs in order to move ahead with the $167 million facility.

The Washington Legislature authorized the Department of Corrections to build a new reception center to meet an expected increased demand for prison space. The corrections facility in Shelton currently serves as Western Washington’s reception center but the city plans to turn it in to long-term prison space once the new facility is completed.

The short-term center would house as many as 1,024 inmates for an average of four weeks. Prison officials would use the time to evaluate the physical, psychological and security needs of the inmates before sending them to long-term prisons.
The state estimates the new center, slated to open in 2016, will create approximately 600 correctional, custody, administrative, maintenance and operations and healthcare jobs.

During Wednesday’s council meeting Overton said his main aim in selling the property is to put the utility infrastructure in place to serve the 356,000-square-foot center, which will help him and the port attract developers to the area.

The site that is ultimately selected must meet several requirements, including that it be located within 30 minutes of Interstate 5. Overton told the City Council that it takes 25 minutes to get to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge from his property and 25 minutes to get to I-5.
The Corrections Department said it would make a final site selection by the end of the year.