Tacoma’s decision to shift its misdemeanor bookings to Fife’s jail isn’t the only change coming to the Pierce County Jail in January.
Because of a drop in bookings this year and budget cuts for next year, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department is closing an 84-bed unit in the jail Jan. 1, reducing the jail’s budgeted capacity to 1,381 inmates, said Undersheriff Eileen Bisson.
Nine unfilled corrections deputy positions were eliminated in the 2013 county budget, which assumes the closure of the 84-bed unit.
For the first 11 months of 2012, the Pierce County Jail had an average daily population of 1,289, Bisson said.
The county budgeted for some decline in inmates from the state Department of Corrections and the City of Tacoma. But it didn’t expect or plan for the Tacoma City Council’s decision Dec. 18 to use Fife’s jail for booking misdemeanor offenders next year to save money.
The Sheriff’s Department and the county’s budget and finance department are studying how much revenue the county stands to lose because of Tacoma’s switch to Fife’s jail. That study won’t be completed until early January, budget and finance director Gary Robinson said.