DOC proposes release of prisoners to meet budget cut

RaeLynn Ricarte

The Washington Department of Corrections has proposed releasing several thousand prisoners in order to meet a directive from Gov. Jay Inslee that agencies reduce their budgets by 15% due to a projected revenue shortfall.

The proposal by DOC that the state’s prison population be reduced by 30% is strongly opposed by Sen. Shelly Short, R-Addy.

“The implications of this proposal could have devastating effects on families and communities across our state,” she said. “A move like this shows that DOC does not value public safety of the costs that will surely be borne by local communities and victims throughout our state. It will most certainly overwhelm local law enforcement and jails. It ignores the fact that most property crimes, fueled by illicit drug use and addiction, often turn into more serious offenses.”

Short noted that DOC had already released more than 1,000 prisoners prematurely this year due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The state currently confines nearly 16,000 offenders in 12 prisons, 10 for males and two for females. The cost per day to maintain an inmate is $112 and total operating costs are nearly $725 million per year.

Read the full story in the October 14 edition of the Deer Park Tribune.