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Kittitas County Jail

205 W 5th Ave # 105
Ellensburg, WA 98926-2891
(509) 962-7527

Interview with Tawnie

JM: How long was your sentencing for?
Tawnie: I don't remember, but the point being that they had made me a 'deal' where if I'd plead guilty there would be no jail time, which I refused since I was NOT GUILTY. When I was not able to follow pre-trial release conditions because I was made destitute by the system and drank in order to cope & was honest about my failing and punished for doing exactly what any depressed alcoholic in my shoes would have done (the only thing one could do really). Why do they expect an "alcoholic/addict" to suddenly be able to stay clean/sober without appropriate treatment/help/support when that is the whole point of the 'condition' or disease of addiction to begin with? It makes no sense, and sets one up for failure. I tried of course, but was unable to maintain sobriety under extreme duress and no help, or not the right kind of help. I got put in jail for being an alcoholic basicly, and for not lying about my condition (I learned quickly that you are supposed to lie, they don't reward honesty, only deceit). My sentence was like a year I think, with all but 10 days suspended (since I'd already been in there 10 days).

JM: Did you spend time in a holding cell after your sentencing? If so, what was that like? If you didn't where did they they take you instead?
Tawnie: Yes, it was torture, plain and simple. what made it worse is the abusive jailer on duty at the time. I needed medical attention and did not get it. He taunted me and was pscyhologically abusive. my mental health detiorated rapidly over. I was in there like 8 hours.

Life On the Inside
It would be difficult to find any jail in this country that hasn't needed to be expanded at some point. Kittitas County Jail is no exception.

When the current facility first opened back in 1980, it was meant to house 45 inmates. Today that number has been bumped up 105. The current staff of the jail consists of 20 COs, 5 control room deputies and one law clerk.

As for getting along with other inmates, a former prisoner had this sage advice: "Put up with childish behavior, keep your mouth shut, be extra tolerant and patient." To pass the time, religious services are offered on Wednesdays and Sundays along with special clergy visits. There are also several work programs that inmates can participate in which would take them off site for work during the day and back in their cells at night. There are also GED and other educational programs offered. At any time those programs can be taken from an inmate who causes trouble.

There is a canteen available for inmates to buy snacks, sodas and other items. It would seem that those snacks become a real "life line" for the inmates as the food is not given high marks at all. In between the meals and work, inmates can check out books from the library or watch television. The selection of channels is up to the guard's choice.

Good Behavior Policy
The official policy for good behavior time in the state of Washington is one day off for every three days served. This effectively can reduce a sentence by a third and is definitely something to strive for. Good behavior is awarded at the discretion of the jail officials. If they don't think you've earned the time off, you won't get it!

Visitor and Phone Policy
The only way for an inmate to make a collect call is to use a prepaid calling card that can be purchased through the canteen. For visits, an inmate has to make the official request at least 24 hours in advance and tell their visitors of the specific appointment time.

An inmate can have at least two adults visit at a time but there is no limit on the amount of children who want to visit their parent in jail. Anyone who comes for a visit is going to be subjected to a search.


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