The following newsletter was sent to subscribers to Sen. Padden’s newsletter, Feb. 16, 2017. To subscribe to Sen. Padden’s newsletters, click here.
Dear friends and neighbors,
We’re at the point of the legislative session when the pace starts to quicken. On Friday we face a deadline for the passage of bills from legislative policy committees. It’s crunch-time for committees like Law and Justice, which I chair. The Law and Justice Committee is one of the most productive committees in the Legislature.
In our next newsletter we’ll tell you more about the important legislation that survived this key legislative cutoff.
One of the most important bills we passed in our committee this week is a measure enacting important reforms at the Department of Corrections. Last year our committee led an investigation into the early release of some 3,000 violent and dangerous inmates, a terrible systemic management failure that has been linked to at least two deaths. This week, I’ll explain what the Legislature is doing to help prevent this tragedy from recurring.
Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley
Reforming the Department of Corrections
Last year’s furor over the early-release scandal at the Department of Corrections is prompting action by this year’s Legislature. For 13 years, improperly programmed computers calculated incorrect release dates. The fact that so many prisoners were released ahead of schedule was bad enough, but what made it worse was the fact that DOC employees learned of the problem in 2012 and tried to flag the problem to management’s attention. Their concerns were met with bureaucratic indifference, and a fix was delayed for three years while prisoners continued to be released.
The Department of Corrections tells us at least 29 crimes may have been committed by offenders who should have been in prison. Among these offenses are two deaths.
This resounding failure of state-agency management prompted the Law and Justice Committee last year to conduct one of the most extensive investigations in the history of the state Legislature. Our recommendations are covered in Senate Bill 5294, which passed the committee Thursday. Reforms include establishing public safety as DOC’s primary duty, creating a truly independent “ombuds” office to investigate complaints and advocate reforms, and new procedures for dealing with software problems. For more information, click here.
Meeting the Midwives
In the news: Law enforcement to fight property crime with state grant money
KREM 2 News | Feb. 14, 2017
From the KREM-2 story: Over the years, KREM 2 News has met many property crime victims. They are all different people, but their stories are similar.
State Senators Mike Padden and Michael Baumgartner managed to get a grant from the state budget for property crime prevention in Spokane.
Many months later, KREM 2 On Your Side learned that money is finally about to become a reality.
If you have a question or concern about state government, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We are here to serve you!
Phone: (360) 786-7606
Mail: P.O. Box 40404, Olympia, WA, 98504