By Hanna Scott September 2, 2019 at 7:10 am
From a computer system glitch blamed for the early release of thousands of prisoners, to investigations over inmate deaths under a now-fired medical director at the Monroe prison, the Washington State Corrections Department has had its share of scandals. Some state Republicans say enough is enough, and are specifically calling out Governor Jay Inlsee over the problems. “How many scandals will it take before Gov. Jay Inslee’s administration finally acknowledges the need for reform at the state Department of Corrections?” Those words led an op-ed in the Everett Herald earlier this month from Republican state Senator Mike Padden. The former judge and long-time state lawmaker from Spokane Valley was referring to the latest scandal at the DOC, surrounding multiple deaths at the Monroe prison under then Medical Director, Dr. Julia Barnett. “There have at least been allegations that three inmates have died as a result of faulty medical care and there are investigations into others,” Padden told KIRO Radio, pointing to investigations at the Washington Medical Commission and DOC.
…Enough, say Padden and other Senate Republicans. “Incompetent leadership, high-profile blunders, costly lawsuits, inmates being released early and even deaths – that’s the record and legacy of Washington’s state prisons under Governor Inslee’s watch,” said Padden, the Republican leader on the Senate Law and Justice Committee, in a statement earlier this summer. “Instead of working to correct these issues, Governor Inslee has been putting up roadblocks and actively halting the progress of those of us who are offering solutions,” he continued.