Last month, the State Senate Law and Justice Committee released a report on its investigation into Jay Inslee’s state Department of Corrections (DOC) scandal. For an astonishing 13 years (under three different Democrat governors since 2002), an “error” at DOC led to the early release of prison inmates – up to 3,700 of them.
Amazingly, DOC officials knew about the “error” since at least 2012, but did nothing to correct the error.
Making matters worse, the deaths of two innocent people have been linked to men who should have still been in prison when their next crime occurred. The state’s taxpayers are likely to pay millions to resolve lawsuits related to this error.
Yet, despite the overwhelming justification for an independent DOC investigation by the Senate, Jay Inslee and his administration criticized and disparaged legislators for their efforts. Why? Because Republicans control the Senate and, as we all know, Inslee love to play hyper-partisan games.
The Senate report placed the heaviest burden of responsibility on former Corrections Secretary Bernie Warner. That’s contrary to the conclusions that Inslee’s hand-picked review team reached.
The difference in conclusions brought about the ire of Inslee flak Jaime Smith. She criticized the GOP report as “nothing new here.”
But, as it would appear, there was “something new” in the report– and the “something new” wasn’t just the criticism of Warner.
According to the Seattle Times, the GOP-led investigation has led to an important change in how the DOC does business. After the report pointed out significant failures, the DOC decided not to renew its contract with Assessments.com, a company that analyzes inmates’ risks of reoffending. Via the Seattle Times:
“By performing the work through DOC’s IT division, the ‘agency is able to account for more precise timetables’ and ‘have increased accountability … in a way that demonstrates our commitment to being good stewards of taxpayer dollars,’ said DOC Secretary Dick Morgan in prepared remarks…
“One of the report’s recommendations called for an investigation of the Advance Corrections project, which is used to predict recidivism and provide case management for offenders. The report also recommended investigating the circumstances of how Assessments.com received and kept its contract.”
So, let’s review: Inslee’s reported concluded that “poor advice, ignored emails and communication lapses by several state employees allowed the state to continue releasing prisoners for three years after the problem’s discovery in 2012.” Meanwhile, the GOP-led report actually sought to investigate sources of the failings and, due to the effort, has led to actual changes that will (hopefully) lead to greater accountability.
This highlighting of Inslee’s failure of leadership and utter incompetence evidently, to use Jamie Smith’s words, amounted to “nothing new here”.