More than five years ago I stood at a podium before a room full of reporters to announce the findings of a detailed Senate investigation into systematic failures at the Department of Corrections, and what could be done to fix them.
A lot can change in 5 years, but apparently not as much as we had hoped for at DOC. As if this year’s Democrat-approved new restrictions on law enforcement weren’t enough, a similarly partisan effort to empty prison cells and return convicted felons to the street is creating new public-safety risks across the state.
That’s the conclusion of a Senate report I, along with two of my Senate Republican colleagues, released last week about new challenges for the state Department of Corrections. The report, “Prison Alarm Bells: Five Years of Failure at the Department of Corrections – and What Washington Can Do About It,” calls attention to the lessons that clearly were not learned following the worst state-government management debacle in recent memory: the accidental release of some 3,000 convicts before their sentences expired.
Five years after that debacle, is the premature release of felons has become a matter of official state policy.