Commissioners create Jail Replacement Steering Committee

Island County commissioners to form a new advisory committee to replace the Island County Jail.

Island County commissioners recently voted to form a new advisory committee that will play a key role in the years-long process of replacing the Island County Jail, according to a press release.

The Jail Replacement Steering Committee, which will consist of key Island County figures such as one commissioner, the prosecuting attorney, sheriff, the District Court judge, and a Superior Court judge, will help guide the site selection and design processes for the new facility and report, according to Island County Administrator Michael Jones.

The committee will not have decision-making authority, but its recommendations to the commissioners will be instrumental in providing much needed information to the Board of Commissioners, Jones said.

The committee will be guiding the needs assessment and site selection processes and overseeing communication on those topics before the board of commissioners during public meetings, keeping the process transparent.

Determining the funding for a replacement jail is not among the committee’s mandates. Rather, that decision remains the responsibility of the commissioners.

The steering committee is designed to continue its work even as its members change. For example, with the retirement of Island County District Court Judge William Hawkins on May 31, he will be succeeded on the committee by his replacement, who will be selected by the commissioners to serve as judge until December 2026.

The steering committee will be developing its own operational guidelines in alignment with Island County policy, Jones said. That includes setting its meeting scheduling, authorizing the designation of substitute delegates by committee members, and determining who will have the responsibility of keeping the commissioners and public apprised of the committee’s progress.

In addition to Jones, Island County staff assigned to assist the committee will include Facilities Directory Ryan Beach, Budget and Risk Manager Susan Geiger, Chief Jail Administrator Jose Briones and the Superior Court Administrator Megan Frazier.