Governor Inslee signs Justice System Initiative

ASOTIN, WA - 21 Washington State leaders are working on a study of the state's criminal justice system.

They hope to find ways of addressing the growing pressures on prisons, and increasing the public's safety.

This group is made up of people who represent the three branches of government, as well as leaders from state and local criminal justice systems.

Governor Jay Inslee signed an executive order this week creating this bi-partisan task force. He said it's part of the state's commitment to provide ongoing efforts to improve the state's government.

This group will look at how they can reduce repeated crime, the spending of public safety money and how to increase public safety.

"It's trying to reduce the populations in the prisons to help people who are in prison to reintegrate more readily into the communities when the get out," said Asotin County Sheriff Ken Bancroft. "Also, it'll hopefully save the state money on incarcerated individuals."

The budget for the Asotin County Jail is $2.5 million dollars. 33% of the county's population is made up of people who are currently in jail. Bancroft said that's a big chunk of change for a small population. That's why Governor Inslee is trying to find a way to bring costs down.

Bancroft said he believes this group will primarily focus on what's happening at the state level, but what happens there could trickle down to each county.