County jail sees nearly 300 repeat offenders

Whitman County police notice increase in crime; 3,600 total bookings



Whitman County Jail Commander Scotty Anderson reports 1,100 of bookings in the past three years were due to the 261 repeat offenders.

MADYSEN MCLAIN, Evergreen roots editor

The Whitman County Jail commander reported about 175 county residents were booked in jail more than once in 2018. The number of repeat offenders can cause taxes to rise for Whitman County residents.

Whitman County Jail Commander Scotty Anderson said about 261 individuals who are considered repeat offenders were booked in the Whitman County Jail from 2017 to 2019.

In the last three years, about 1,100 of bookings were due to the 261 repeat offenders, he said. The total number of bookings for first-time and repeat offenders combined was 3,600.

Anderson said some common charges include domestic assault, drug use, driving with a suspended license and driving under the influence.

Whitman County Prosecutor Denis Tracy said he witnessed an increase in property crimes over the last 10 years which is due to drug addiction.

Tracy created the drug court program in 2011. The program was created to help individuals with drug addiction rather than have those individuals undergo regular processing for a felony.

Repeat offenders who commit violent crimes will be prosecuted more aggressively than a first-time offender, Tracy said.

“You don’t wake up in the morning wanting to be a victim of some person that assaults you,” Anderson said. “Not only are there monetary costs, but there are also societal costs.”

Anderson said individuals who are booked into jail are provided linens, three meals a day and medical care.

Booking also takes time for police officers and clerks at the jail, he said. It takes officers about an hour and a half to arrest an individual and another hour to book the individual into jail.

Anderson said Whitman county residents pay taxes to fund the jail. This includes everyone in the county who buys from stores or pay property taxes.

It costs about $120 to $160 per day for each inmate to stay in the county jail, he said.

“Everybody’s paying into this pool,” Anderson said.

Tracy said there are young adults from WSU in jail since the majority of the county’s overall population comes from Pullman. He said they occasionally make mistakes but usually learn from it.

As far as numbers go, most crimes are committed in Pullman, he said. However, the seriousness level per capita is spread out around the county.

“Every case is different,” Tracy said.