Local news

Sheriff: Jail contracting didn’t ‘pencil out’


Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich expressed doubt Tuesday that the city of Spokane could save any money by hiring a private company to run a municipal lockup.

“We looked at privatization,” Knezovich said, adding the department had talked with a Montana company while researching options for a regional jail to serve the Spokane area’s future needs. “We never could get that to pencil out.”

Knezovich’s comments came in response to questions asked during a meeting with Spokane-area journalists. City officials announced earlier this month they’re exploring cheaper alternatives to the county jail, which is operated by the Sheriff’s Office, and that its options could include hiring a private company to house low-risk inmates.

Among other things, private jails often want to limit the risk they face in caring for medically needy inmates, but someone has to bear that cost, Knezovich said.

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