Bi-Polar Washington State Dept of Corrections Laws

I recently made a records request into the true number of sex offenders who were being “ID’d Booked & Released” I wanted to know how many sexual predators had simply been fingerprinted and let go to prey on our community.

This is the response I got…

— Please respond above this line —

Date: 02/01/2016

This email acknowledges receipt of your request, submitted to and received by Snohomish County on 2/1/2016 9:41:00 AM.

Specifically you requested:

Pursuant to RCW 42.561.) I would like the name of the jail administrator2.) I would like the names, & charges (for probable cause AND actual charges) for all people Id’d Booked & Released for the dates of January 28th 2016 back to June 1st, 2015.

The Jail Records Act (RCW 70.48.100) governs the release of inmate records and directs what information the jail may make available to the public.
Inmate records are confidential and may only be provided directly to the inmate, to a third-party with a signed release from the inmate, or by a court order.  For more information about obtaining inmate information please visit or contact

You may also send a fax request to:   425-339-2244  or mail a written request to:

Snohomish County Corrections
Attn:  Records Requests
3000 Rockefeller Ave., M/S 509
Everett, WA 98201

Thank you.

Public Disclosure Unit

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office

NOTICE:  All emails, and attachments, sent to and from Snohomish County are public records and may be subject to disclosure pursuant to the Public Records Act (RCW 42.56)


I thought they were being sarcastic until I looked up the actual law


RCW 70.48.100

Jail register, open to the public—Records confidential—Exception.

(1) A department of corrections or chief law enforcement officer responsible for the operation of a jail shall maintain a jail register, open to the public, into which shall be entered in a timely basis:
(a) The name of each person confined in the jail with the hour, date and cause of the confinement; and
(b) The hour, date and manner of each person’s discharge.
(2) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section the records of a person confined in jail shall be held in confidence and shall be made available only to criminal justice agencies as defined in RCW 43.43.705; or
(a) For use in inspections made pursuant to *RCW 70.48.070;
(b) In jail certification proceedings;
(c) For use in court proceedings upon the written order of the court in which the proceedings are conducted;
(d) To the Washington association of sheriffs and police chiefs;
(e) To the Washington institute for public policy, research and data analysis division of the department of social and health services, higher education institutions of Washington state, Washington state health care authority, state auditor’s office, caseload forecast council, office of financial management, or the successor entities of these organizations, for the purpose of research in the public interest. Data disclosed for research purposes must comply with relevant state and federal statutes; or
(f) Upon the written permission of the person.
(3)(a) Law enforcement may use booking photographs of a person arrested or confined in a local or state penal institution to assist them in conducting investigations of crimes.
(b) Photographs and information concerning a person convicted of a sex offense as defined in RCW 9.94A.030 may be disseminated as provided in RCW 4.24.550, 9A.44.130, 9A.44.140, 10.01.200, 43.43.540, 43.43.745, 46.20.187, 70.48.470, 72.09.330, and **section 401, chapter 3, Laws of 1990.

So they are “required” to maintain a booking register but they can not release the inmates information?

Yet the state of Washington maintains a public database that shows everyone’s records or charges

Washington Courts - Search Case Records 2016-02-02 09-57-55

At first glance the law makes absolutely no good sense but after some thought it becomes crystal clear:

They have to list anyone who has been arrested (and a lot of folks in Snohomish County who have been arrested are never listed) and the court records are public record:

If they screw up and release someone on accident or too early, or an inmate dies in or out of custody (as in if they had a medical emergency and had to be transferred to a hospital and die there) they don’t have to release the records detailing their own failings to the public and they can hide behind these bi-polar laws like they have done with the many deaths at the jail.

Taking lessons from their big brothers at the Department of Corrections?