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Kittitas (pronounced 'KITT-i-tass') County is located in central Washington
State. It spans from the lush forested Cascade Mountains to the upper Yakima River Valley plains and
the Columbia River.
Kittitas County, WA -
The Kittitas County Jail (KCJ) has been awarded a US Department of Justice grant of $797,044 to treat inmates with substance use disorders or addictions. The grant will support the jail’s Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) program, which started under a similar $600,000 grant in 2020. The increase in funds for this second three-year grant period will provide increased nursing staff and counseling services.
KCJ implemented this MOUD program, along with other rehabilitation and recovery programs, to reduce the likelihood of repeated criminal involvements and re-incarceration. Participation in KCJ programs like MOUD does not reduce criminal sentences or give inmates special privileges. But it does make a jail sentence an opportunity to change destructive behaviors like opioid use, for the good of both the offender and the community they’ll return to.
KCJ booking records show that arrestees who live in Kittitas County were significantly less likely to be re-arrested if they participated in the MOUD program while in jail, and this positive impact on recidivism has grown larger during the three initial years of the program. MOUD programs also lower the risk that people who use opioids will overdose a short time after release from incarceration.
The DOJ grant includes funding for independent research into the effectiveness of KCJ’s MOUD program. In the previous grant period, CWU Law and Justice Professor Roger Schaefer produced recommendations to strengthen ties between KCJ programs and community support services after release. KCJ is building on those recommendations and its close relationships with outside service providers to link inmates with continuing behavioral health care and other resources after release so they can stay on the positive path started in KCJ programs.
On receiving the grant award, Sheriff Myers said: “We’re proud to be leading the corrections community in working to make jail a turning point in inmate’s lives. I don’t support measures that reduce accountability or put offenders ahead of victims, and that’s not what these programs are about. Addressing the root causes of the crimes that put people in jail and reducing recidivism is just one more way we work to protect our whole community.”
Kittitas County, from the Cascades to the Columbia, and online at http://www.co.kittitas.wa.us
Inspector Chris Whitsett509email@example.com
Kittitas County has a total area of 2,333 square miles. The highest point in the county is Mount Daniel at 7,959 feet above sea level.