Report says Snohomish County Jail is 'seriously understaffed'

EVERETT, Wash. -- A wide-reaching investigation into trouble at the Snohomish County Jail became public on Monday, and in it the National Institute of Corrections urged jail staff to make serious changes.

Eight inmates have died inside the jail in the past three years, and the jail has legal action pending from at least two families who say misconduct led to deaths behind bars.

Lyndsay Lason died in 2011 after an infection triggered breathing problems, according to her lawyer. Michael Saffioti died in 2012 due to an allergic reaction to jail food, according to his family.

Saffioti's mother has filed a $10 million claim with the county over her son's death.

"It would be nice to find out and then try to prevent that from happening in the future," she said.

The 100-page report found that the jail needs to increase staffing levels, saying the health care program is "seriously understaffed" and that there are safety risks with overcrowding.

The review also found the health care screening process is "seriously inadequate" because of lack of training.

In response, county officials said on Monday that they will hire a new health services director, find five new nurses and hire another doctor.

They also want more funding from the County Council to overhaul an electronic records system.