YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash.-- A review of the Yakima County Law and Justice System has been returned to county commissioners this week. The study shows areas that the court system, and Department of Corrections could dramatically save money in.
82% of the county's general fund is spent on law and justice agencies, which is what prompted county commissioners to ask for this report.
In it, a critical view of many methods and departments in the county including the prosecutor's office.
In fact, in the report they outline a 30% acquittal rate. That means, a good portion of cases that go to trial are thrown out. Double the rate of other large counties.
The prosecutor's office also has a 70% conviction rate, about 15% worse than other counties.
And while the number of cases continue to go down, the number of jury trials go up, costing taxpayers big money.
"I think there was some concern about the amount of time and energy we put into the jury trials, when maybe we could look at those cases before they go to jury and see if there's some other alternative," said Harold Delia, Yakima County court administrator.
Aside from the prosecutor's office, the report shows ways to also cut jail costs which cost over $11 million a year. These ideas include using more home monitoring devices, and putting inmates to work outside the jail.
County commissioners will look further into the findings next week and determine how to move forward.