State Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary Dan Pacholke resigned last weekend over a stunning controversy regarding the early release of prisoners over the last 12 years. As Shift reported, the DOC knew since at least 2012 that it was mistakenly releasing up to 3,700 inmates early, in violation of state law, but didn’t fix the problem. Pacholke has been in charge of the agency since last fall.
The early release of “some of the system’s most violent inmates” has been going on for more than a decade.
Pacholke, finally, decided to take responsibility for his part in the scandal. But, not before taking a ridiculous shot at Republican lawmakers. From the Seattle Times,
“DOC Secretary Dan Pacholke, in an email to state Sen. Mike Padden, accused Padden of ‘blaming and shaming’ agency staff and using the early-release problem to wage political warfare…
“‘I notify you now of my resignation. I hope it helps meet your need for blood,’ Pacholke said in the email to Padden, R-Spokane Valley, who chairs the Senate Law and Justice Committee and who has led a push to issue subpoenas for DOC records as part of an investigation separate from one ordered by Gov. Jay Inslee.
“‘I hope it gives you fodder for the press and fulfills your political needs so you can let this agency, our agency, heal. Your posturing does a grave injustice to the 8,200 staff who work for this agency,’ Pacholke added.”
Pacholke’s arrogance is, simply put, stunning. Apparently, he is more concerned with his own fate – and taking a hyper-partisan punch at Republicans – than the reality of the consequences of the failed leadership at DOC over the years. The deaths of two innocent people have been linked to men who should have still been in prison. Yet, Pacholke’s has the audacity to talk about Republicans needing blood.
Ironically, Pacholke is exhibiting the type of attitude that led to the problem in the first place: a damaging arrogance and inability to accept responsibility.
Of course, our green, green governor has repeated Pacholke’s out-of-touch words. Inslee stated that he hoped the resignation would satisfy the “political blood thirst of Senate Republicans.” Senate Minority Leader Sharon Nelson used similar strong language to attack her GOP counterparts.
Pacholke and the Democrats who have decided to support his unfounded attacks against Republicans should be ashamed of themselves. It’s not Pacholke’s career we should be concerned about. It’s justice for two innocent people who were killed by violent criminals “mistakenly” released by DOC that deserves our concerns.
As Republican Sen. Mark Miloscia, who chairs the Senate’s Accountability and Reform Committee, pointed out, “Although Secretary Pacholke inherited a culture of apathy at DOC, he never demonstrated the leadership to inspire change in one of our state’s core services… People are dying as a result of this culture of apathy.”