OLYMPIA – Washington state will delay plans to close the Pine Lodge Corrections Center for Women to see whether it can stay open as a facility shared by Spokane County and City.
State Corrections Secretary Eldon Vail announced Thursday the Medical Lake center is getting a temporary reprieve from a list of institutions the state wants to close because of its budget problems. Gov. Chris Gregoire put Pine Lodge on a list of 10 institutions earlier this month in her most recent budget proposal.
In a prepared statement, Vail said he’d received a letter from Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and Spokane Mayor Mary Verner about a “joint use” of Pine Lodge. “We need adequate time to seriously consider what might be developed,” he said.
Knezovich said he and Verner suggested using the facility as part of joint county and city community corrections operation which would include programs for electronic home monitoring of certain inmates. Folding Pine Lodge into the county’s jail system could shave as much as $20 million off current expansion plans, he said.
Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, said she’d had discussions with Gregoire and the corrections department about keeping Pine Lodge open.
“This is a good move if there’s a potential to use part of the facility for city and county needs,” she said.