Federal Scrutiny At Snohomish County Jail

Aug 22, 2013

A federal review team is taking a close look at the Snohomish County Jail in Everett this week. The review comes after last month’s death of a jail inmate. It was the eighth such death since 2010.

At least two recent deaths at the Snohomish County Jail have led to lawsuits. The claims target medical treatment for inmates while behind bars. The Snohomish County’s Sheriff’s Office handles all operations at the jail.

Spokeswoman Shari Ireton says this federal review will examine its medical services and where they may fall short. “We have a population of inmates that can have a variety of medical issues, sometimes exacerbated by substance abuse or the fact that they don’t have access to good medical care. Of course we are going to treat them medically as best we can. You know, it’s a challenge."

Ireton says it’s a priority to make improvements that can help prevent inmate deaths. That’s partly why the Sheriff’s Office asked for this federal review. Consultants with the National Institute of Corrections will be on-site at the jail this week.

Ireton says some issues they’ll review include medical staffing and how medications are distributed. A report of the consultants’ findings and recommendations is expected in early September.