Wash. Close To Selecting Jail Site

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The state Department of Corrections has narrowed its site selection search to the three most suitable sites for a new prison reception center, with Mason County at the top of the list.

The proposed $167 million, 365,000-square-foot facility would employ over 500 people.

The locations that will move forward in the selection process are located near the Washington Corrections Center outside Shelton, south of the Bremerton Airport.

The DOC says is selected the sites based on a range of physical, environmental, engineering and community characteristics. The department received 11 submissions recommending 15 properties, with some parties proposing multiple properties. The DOC conducted initial screenings and site visits for all of the properties based on the siting criteria to determine if the communities meet the minimum requirements.

The locations went through a rigorous site review to determine which three should be analyzed in an Environmental Impact Statement assessment, which provides the positive and negative environmental effects of a proposed project. A cost analysis will also be part of the review.

The Department anticipates having a preferred site identified by December. While the legislature approved funds to find a location and pay for pre-design costs, it has not yet approved the funds necessary to build a new reception center.

During the reception process offenders are assessed for physical and mental health, security and management needs, and other needs such as education and chemical dependency. This is currently being done at the Shelton prison, which would transition to just a prison when the new reception center is built.