Seattle’s downtown jail will revise the use of force by guards, intensify suicide prevention efforts, and upgrade medical care for inmates at its jail to resolve issues raised by the federal government in a damning 2007 report, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The proposed agreement with the Justice Department is expected to cost $2 million in 2009 and $1.7 million annually in the subsequent two years.
The Justice Department began an investigation in 2006 after media accounts of inmate suicides and criminal charges of sexual misconduct by guards. The jail opened in 1986 to hold inmates awaiting trial or serving sentences of less than one year. Its average daily population is 1,700. Guards will receive more training in the graduated use of force; the use of hair holds — a technique criticized in the 2007 report — will be reduced or eliminated.