The Washington State Department of Corrections is not an agency that you want to read a whole about, if things are being done correctly. The men and women who protect society by keeping criminals locked up deserve our gratitude, and so much the better if they do so in relative anonymity.
Unfortunately, under the Jay Inslee administration, the Corrections Department has been much in the news. A year ago, we learned that administrators in the department had known for years that it was letting dangerous prisoners out of jail early. Then, just last month, we found out that Inslee’s administrators believe it would be better for the self-esteem of inmates if they were called “Individuals…students…patients” depending on their circumstances.
It’s hard to top such silliness, but the current “interim” Corrections Secretary tried to do just that in a public radio interview, suggesting that more mistakes will be made because the system is just so “complex.”
According to NW News Network, “A sentencing calculation error that led to the early release of nearly 3,000 Washington prison inmates over more than a decade came to light one year ago this month. And Washington’s interim Secretary of Corrections has warned a similar mistake could happen again. Secretary Dick Morgan called Washington’s criminal code ‘antiquated’ and the ‘headwaters’ of the potential problem.”
And according to Morgan, “I don’t know what the next error is going to be… but I’m pretty sure there’s going to be one because it is so complex, it’s impossible to tease this out until some staff member or some citizen says ‘hey this isn’t right.’”
However, there is one bright spot to this story – since the job is evidently too “complex” for Morgan, he’ll soon be moving on. According to the interview, Morgan “expects to leave his interim post early next year once Gov. Jay Inslee appoints a permanent secretary of corrections.”
Let’s hope Inslee gets something right with the next appointment.