Chelan County is entering an agreement with Walla Walla County to house some of its juvenile detainees. 

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The move is unusual because the distance between the two facilities is 180 miles and is a three-hour drive. 

Chelan County Administrator Cathy Mulhall says juvenile detainees would only be sent in from Walla Walla County under specific circumstances. 

"I think it's the idea that sometimes when we arrest juveniles, there's co-conspirators where they don't want one child in with another child in a smaller facility," said Mulhall. "So, therefore they're willing to put them in a car and transport them here."   

The juvenile detention center in Chelan County can house a maximum of 50 juvenile inmates but usually only has about 12 on a daily basis. It's currently housing 19 inmates. 

Mulhall says the detainees coming from Walla Walla County will be different than agreements made with other jurisdictions. 

"It's not like Grant County where all their juveniles come here," Muhall said. 

Chelan County currently has a contract to house all juvenile detainees from Douglas County, Grant County, East Wenatchee and some from Kittitas County. 

The Kittitas County arrangement was made in February to cover specific circumstances like with the Walla Walla County agreement.  

The Kittitas County agreement came in the wake of a law passed by the State Legislature in 2019 that went into effect last year which requires some juvenile offenders to be housed in detention centers that offer state-approved crisis services. Chelan County has those services. 

Chelan County entered an agreement with Grant County last year 

At the time, Commissioner Kevin Overbay said the partnership would benefit both sides in a variety of ways. 

"We've got a great juvenile facility that will help them save some dollars in the years ahead and we'll (Chelan County) be able to receive some additional funding to help stand up and utilize a state-of-the-art facility that we currently have." 

The contract with Grant County runs through this year. 

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