Pierce County Jail to cut 30 jobs, close units

by: Web Staff Updated:

TACOMA, Wash. —

Money problems are now turning into job cuts at the Pierce County Jail.

The News Tribune said the jail will close two units that hold more than 160 inmates and cut 30 jobs.

The cutbacks are the result of a county budget deficit of $4.2 million. The jail's 2013 budget is $52.5 million.

Part of the jail's problem is that a lot of inmates are being placed in other jails.

“This is more of a prison than it is a jail. We have 84 percent felons, we have a makeshift mental health ward, we have full medical, dental, we’re under Federal Court order to provide a certain amount of space,” said Det. Ed Troyer of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office. 

For instance, Tacoma is now sending people arrested on low-level crimes to Fife instead of the Pierce County Jail.

The News Tribune said Fife charges about $20 for booking inmates, plus $65 per day per prisoner, a savings over what Pierce County charges -- $212 for booking, plus $85 per day.

Pierce County Sheriff's Office spokesman Ed Troyer said the layoffs will come gradually, as will a draw down in the number of inmates.