Locking up support for a cause

EVERETT – Elvis has left the lockup.

But so have the generous supporters of the Snohomish County Center for Battered Women.

The nonprofit center held a benefit luncheon Friday in the county’s new jail to raise money for the organization. The event, called “This Jailhouse Rocks!” featured an Elvis impersonator and a brief stay in a locked cell for each of the almost 130 center supporters who attended.

Julie Busch / The Herald

Elvis impersonator Shane Cobane surprises Stevi Boskovich during a Center for Battered Women benefit at the new Snohomish County Jail in Everett on Friday.

It was the first look inside the new 250,000-square-foot jail for most of those at the benefit. Construction of the $86.5 million jail started in August 2002 and wrapped up in March. Inmates will be brought in next month from the Indian Ridge Corrections Center near Arlington. The addition provides 640 inmate beds, which will reduce crowding in the old jail, officials said.

The lockup luncheon raised approximately $3,500. With Elvis (aka Shane Cobane) shadowing supporters and his “hunka hunka burnin’ love” echoing through jail modules F1 and F4, the fundraiser was largely a lighthearted event.

Supporters mugged during mug shots, then were fingerprinted as they filled out a pink disposition report.

The disposition report asked “Is this a bogus charge?” And in bold print: “You have the right to get involved. You have the right to volunteer. You have the right to make a difference.”

People peeked into the locked cells before the fundraiser began, some anxious to see what it would be like on the other side once the doors were opened and shut.

“I think it will be good to experience what our clients experience,” said Kristina Coyle, a teen advocate for Cocoon House, a shelter for homeless youths.

“Unfortunately, some of our clients end up here,” added Fred Keene, a career counselor for Job Corps, a training and education program for at-risk young adults

Karen McKeen, a women’s shelter advocate at the Center for Battered Women, gets the word from corrections officer Richard Scott that she isn’t getting into her cell fast enough during a simulated lockdown Friday at the jail.

Seeing the jail from the inside will help him educate others that it’s not a place they’ll want to visit, he added.

He did say he was impressed with how spacious the jail is, and that showers now have curtains for privacy.

Visitors didn’t have to wait long until they were sitting in the cells.

“Let’s go people, lockdown!” the voice of a beefy corrections officer boomed through the module.

“She’s eyeballing you!” called out another officer, and the offending “inmate” was quickly hustled into a cell.

Several inmates weren’t looking to get out sooner for good behavior. Some rang the call buttons, asking for a hairdresser or more toilet paper.

All were soon released for an authentic inmate lunch – a congealed blob of spaghetti with green beans on the side, served on a brown plastic tray that looked like a cooler lid.

Smiles slipped away when it came time to talk about the problem of domestic violence.

Officials from the Snohomish County Center for Battered Women say that on average an assault on a woman occurs every 7.5 seconds nationwide. And more than 1 million women every year seek medical help after being battered.

County Executive Aaron Reardon told the crowd how his family was broken by domestic violence when he was 3 years old. His father was an alcoholic, he said, and his mother would pay the price when he drank.

Reardon recalled an incident in 1972 when his father beat up his mother, locked her in a bathroom and left. When she finally broke out, she discovered he had taken the phone as well.

She went to the neighbors to call police, covered in blood from a broken nose.

“They told her, ‘Why don’t you go back inside and work this out?’” he said. “And if you don’t, then I think you need to leave.”

That day finally came, Reardon said. And when it did, they feared for their lives.

He thanked the center and its supporters for their work on domestic violence issues.

“You’ve helped change the culture, you’ve helped change the law,” Reardon said. “You give women hope.”

“Domestic violence ravages our children, our families and our homes,” said Margaret Bruland, director of the Center for Battered Women.

“As the senseless abuse continues daily, it will take each of us calling out for support,” she said. “We must send a message loud and clear: Domestic violence is unacceptable in Snohomish County.”

Talk to us

More in Local News

This photo provided by OceanGate Expeditions shows a submersible vessel named Titan used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic. In a race against the clock on the high seas, an expanding international armada of ships and airplanes searched Tuesday, June 20, 2023, for the submersible that vanished in the North Atlantic while taking five people down to the wreck of the Titanic. (OceanGate Expeditions via AP)
A new movie based on OceanGate’s Titan submersible tragedy is in the works: ‘Salvaged’

MindRiot announced the film, a fictional project titled “Salvaged,” on Friday.

Craig Hess (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)
Sultan’s new police chief has 22 years in law enforcement

Craig Hess was sworn in Sep. 14. The Long Island-born cop was a first-responder on 9/11. He also served as Gold Bar police chief.

Cars move across Edgewater Bridge toward Everett on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edgewater Bridge redo linking Everett, Mukilteo delayed until mid-2024

The project, now with an estimated cost of $27 million, will detour West Mukilteo Boulevard foot and car traffic for a year.

Lynn Deeken, the Dean of Arts, Learning Resources & Pathways at EvCC, addresses a large gathering during the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new Cascade Learning Center on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New EvCC learning resource center opens to students, public

Planners of the Everett Community College building hope it will encourage students to use on-campus tutoring resources.

Boeing employees watch the KC-46 Pegasus delivery event  from the air stairs at Boeing on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Boeing’s iconic Everett factory tour to resume in October

After a three-year hiatus, tours of the Boeing Company’s enormous jet assembly plant are back at Paine Field.

A suspected hit and run crash Wednesday morning left a pedestrian dead on I-5 north near Marysville. (Washington State Patrol)
Suspected hit and run crash on I-5 near Marysville leaves 1 dead

State patrol responded to reports of a body on the right shoulder of I-5. Two lanes were closed while troopers investigated.

Representative Rick Larsen speaks at the March For Our Lives rally on Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Larsen: ‘Fractured caucus’ of House Republicans is ‘unable to lead’

Following removal of the House speaker, a shutdown still looms. Congress has until Nov. 17 to devise a spending plan.

Spada Lake is seen from Culmback Dam on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023, near Sultan, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Helicopter crash in Copper Lake sparks environmental, health concerns

Rangers hadn’t heard of fly-in tourism in the area — which can harm the wilderness and people downstream, advocates say.

Man charged with dealing fentanyl pills that led to Arlington overdose

Prosecutors charged Robin Clariday with controlled substance homicide. He allegedly handed Bradley Herron the pills outside a hotel.

Seattle woman identified in fatal Highway 99 crash

Elena Mroczek, 74, was killed Sunday in a crash involving a 19-year-old.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Rival gang members charged with killing Everett boy, 15, at bus stop

The two suspects are accused of premeditated first-degree murder in the death of Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Witnesses contradict gunman’s account of killing Monroe prison officer

Dylan Picard, 22, was driving on South Machias Road when Dan Spaeth approached his car to slow it down to avoid hitting a deer.