Buckley to pay more for housing inmates at SCORE jail

Sending inmates to a regional jail will soon take a bigger bite out of Buckley’s law enforcement budget.

The SCORE jail in Des Moines, which provides lock-up services for cities and towns throughout the area, informed Buckley a new price structure will take effect Jan. 1, 2018. The amended agreement, first signed by Buckley in 2016, was approved in July by members of the City Council.

Buckley has been paying a daily rate of $108.72 per bed, but that figure will increase to $120 with the coming of the new year. Buckley pays for two beds each day.

City Administrator Dave Schmidt said the city generally has a need to house two inmates daily. Inmates can also be transported to the Enumclaw jail as part of an agreement between the two cities.

Buckley also contracts with Yakima County for space at its facility. Schmidt said inmates are taken across the Cascades only when a longer sentence is handed down. The cheaper rate in Yakima justifies the increased travel, he said.

SCORE is the commonly-used term for the South Correctional Entity, a consortium formed by the cities of Auburn, Burien, Des Moines, Federal Way, Renton, SeaTac and Tukwila.

In explaining the rate increase, SCORE Executive Director Penny Bartley cited increasing costs brought about by the medical and mental health needs of many inmates.

Nearly 70 percent of those booked into the SCORE facility are under the influence of drugs, she explained, with the current opioid crisis a major factor.

The epidemic has led SCORE to implement a “detox unit” to help inmates withdraw from drugs. Also, the facility this year added a mental health professional who specializes in chemical dependency.