“Andrew Westling, 19, in a booking photo after he was arrested in Yelm
and taken to the Nisqually Corrections Center last April.” He later died there.
Photo credit: The Seattle Times
An excellent investigative report by Steve Miletich, The Seattle Times..
– Yelm Police contracts with Nisqually Tribe to house city arrests there
– Yelm teen Andrew Westling died in Nisqually Jail custody 24 hours later (Apr. 2016)
– Lack of proper care and oversight of Tribal Jail prisoners cited
– Former WA Attorney General McKenna says Yelm’s arrangement with tribe is illegal
– McKenna says WA law only allows contracts between cities/counties for jail services
– “Fatal confines? A teen’s troubling death in Nisqually tribal jail”
“Under an unusual contract, Yelm police sent 19-year-old Andrew Westling to the Nisqually tribal jail for two alleged misdemeanors. About 24 hours later, he was found dead after jail officers didn’t seek medical help when he alerted them to a heart condition.”
“Seattle attorneys Edwin Budge and Erik Heipt said they plan to file a federal civil-rights lawsuit on behalf of Westling’s parents. They say the arrangement between the city of Yelm and the Nisqually tribe raises questions of training and oversight of the jail.”
“And in the view of former Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna, who was hired by Budge and Heipt, the arrangement is illegal. Washington law allows for contracts only between cities and counties for jail services — not with Indian tribes or reservations, McKenna concluded.” [McKenna cited the City and County Jails Act as well as the Interlocal Cooperation Act.]
‘I have rarely, if ever, seen such a blatant violation of basic corrections standards of care, both on an individual and institutional level,’ [wrote Arthur Wallenstein, director and jail administrator for King County’s Department of Adult Detention from 1990 to 1999 during a career of more than 40 years as a corrections administrator, called in to review Westling’s death.]” quoting Steve Miletich, The Seattle Times, and contributed by Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf.
– UPDATE: January 10, 2017
Top headline by Andy Hobbs in The Olympian print edition this morning:
“Jail inmate’s death could challenge local contracts with Nisqually tribe”
“‘In the case of Andrew Westling, once he was taken onto tribal land, his rights as a U.S. citizen were no longer the same as if he had been in the Yelm jail or Thurston County jail,’ Budge told The Olympian.”
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