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County Will Use Taxpayer Money To Bail Inmates Out Of Jail

King County taxpayers will foot the bill to bail low-income inmates out of jail.

King County, WA – King County plans to use $400,000 in taxpayer dollars to help low-income inmates get out of jail.

The money would help secure funding for the pretrial bail reform plan from June 1 until December 31 of 2020, KIRO reported.

Other than being low-income, it was unclear what criteria might be required in determining which offenders will receive the get-out-of-jail-free funds.

The King County Department of Community Health Services (DCHS) released a Request for Proposals for Pretrial Bail for Indigent Individuals on Thursday.

The DCHS announced that it is “pleased” to release the request for proposal, which it touted as being evidence of the county’s drive to “advance its commitment to equity, social justice and [to] support the public well-being.”

“King County will be appropriating funds to an organization that remits payment of pretrial bail, with a specific emphasis on indigent individuals,” the release read. “Successful applicants will provide bail for indigent individuals who would otherwise spend their pretrial time in jail, causing undue burden and costs for King County and the individuals.”

DCHS said that the county hopes that the bail funding program will “prevent the personal and familial instability” caused by offenders being incarcerated, and that it will “facilitate equitable access to justice” for low-income people.

The county also believes that the program will lower the county’s jail costs, according to DCHS.

DCHS did not mention any potential safety risks created by the program, nor did it discuss the reasons behind pre-trial incarceration.

The privately-funded Northwest Community Bail Fund is currently providing bail for low-income offenders in Snohomish and King Counties who are not simultaneously charged with offenses in outside jurisdictions, KIRO reported.

A bidder’s conference for the grant is slated to take place on Tuesday.

Holly Matkin - March Mon, 2019

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