Second prison work-release facility proposed for Bellingham's Garden Street

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 24, 2014 

BELLINGHAM - A 16-bedroom facility for prisoners who are allowed work release but remain under supervision has been proposed for the Sehome Neighborhood.

People may submit written comments on the proposed facility at 1125-27 N. Garden St. through 5 p.m. Friday, June 27.

Written comments and requests for information should be sent to Jackie Lynch, planner, at jlynch@cob.org or 360-778-8350.

City staff will then make a recommendation on the project and host a public hearing at 6 p.m. July 23 in the City Council chambers at City Hall, 210 Lottie St., said Ali Taysi of ATV Consulting, the firm serving as an agent for the applicant during the permitting process.

The proposed home could not serve as a work release facility without legislative approval or funding, said Norah West, a communications specialist with the Department of Corrections. The department does not, on its own, have the authority to commit to a new facility without that approval, West said.

The building would house male and female offenders in a supervised program and would be built next to an existing facility already on the property. The current building is operated in conjunction with the Department of Corrections by the nonprofit Community Work Training Association, Taysi said.

The current facility is one of 16 work release homes in the state. It has been a work release facility since 1983, Taysi said. The next-closest home is in Snohomish County.

The proposed facility would be able to house a maximum of 25 residents, which is the same number the current facility houses, Taysi said.

All residents are within six months of their release and have been awarded minimum security status by the Department of Corrections.

Update: This story was updated at 4:35 p.m. June 24 to include information from the Department of Corrections.

Reach Samantha Wohlfeil at 360-715-2274 or Samantha.Wohlfeil@bellinghamherald.com.

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