March 30, 2018
(Tim Kelly, DOC Communications)
TUMWATER – For many, the thought of going to prison can feel without hope. While looking at the rate of return to correctional institutions, former Deputy Secretary Jody Becker and Performance Manager Bryan Irwin wanted to seek out input from people who are directly impacted by incarceration.
Beginning in 2016, active conversations began to take place between correctional staff and those under supervision or who are incarcerated, including families and other prosocial support systems. Hope Cafés, as they came to be known, occurred at correctional facilities, field offices, and community centers. Irwin and his team plan to utilize the feedback they gathered to affect agency performance with the goal of reducing recidivism.
It is one of the agency’s core values to actively involve the community. The department encourages positive interactions with the community as it strives to promote public safety, protection, and understanding. Having conversations and being receptive to feedback enhances the department’s commitment to the value. Hope Café was one outlet to engage the community.
Through the community conversations, the agency gained feedback on how corrections can best communicate with, and invest in, people who are incarcerated. The goal of the conversations was to gain insight on how to better cultivate success in community safety and reduce recidivism. The Washington State Department of Corrections is committed to working together to improve public safety. It’s a complex mission that starts on day one of incarceration and to which community support is vital.
For more information, please review the Hope Café report.