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Reimagine WCC: Streamlining Rehabilitations First Step

January 31, 2024

By Lukas D'Ambrosio Communications Office

Man stands at podium, addressing a crowd.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Prisons, James Key, addresses WCC staff and commends them on their hard work (Photo courtesy of DOC Communications Office)

In a celebration at Washington Corrections Center (WCC) in Shelton, Washington, the dedicated efforts of various divisions involved in the Reimagine WCC project were honored. The event, held to recognize the unwavering commitment of teams such as Criminal Convictions Records (CCR), Records, Transportation, Classification, Clerical, Health Services, Engineering and facility leadership, marked a significant milestone in the transformation of the initial classification process.

Reimagine WCC, initiated with the ambitious goal of streamlining the initial classification process and the prevention of floor sleeping, has not only revamped procedures but has also bolstered safety measures within the facility. WCC, serving as the reception center for individuals before their assignment to parent facilities, has seen a remarkable improvement in efficiency through the concerted efforts of the celebrated divisions.

“The work that was accomplished in this project was nothing short of miraculous,” said Cheryl Strange, the Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary. “The team in place today was able to solve problems that others had been trying to do for years. A fresh approach using lean principles, and recognizing that this was a DOC problem, not just a WCC problem, was key to the mind shift that made this project highly successful, and sustainable. This project was top shelf, from start to finish.”

One of the key objectives of the project was to expedite the transfer of individuals to their designated facilities, enabling them to commence rehabilitation programs promptly. The streamlined initial classification process involves several facility disciplines. This process now ensures a quicker transition, allowing for the timely initiation of programs geared towards the individuals' rehabilitation and eventual reintegration into society. This efficiency not only benefits the incarcerated individuals but also contributes to the overall effectiveness of the correctional system.

Another pivotal aspect of Reimagine WCC is the prevention of floor sleeping, a practice that posed security risks for both staff and individuals. By addressing this, WCC has achieved a higher standard of safety, created a more humane prison setting and mitigated potential security concerns. The celebration, therefore, not only acknowledged the successful implementation of processes that brought the facility closer to achieving the project's objectives but also highlighted the positive impact on the overall well-being of those within the correctional system.

“Floor sleeping has been an issue at WCC for as long as I can remember,” said James Key, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Prisons. “The team at WCC has accomplished something that others have failed to do and now it is our turn to support them by investing in their success.”

During the ceremony, accolades were showered upon the CCR team, Records department, Transportation division, Classification unit, Clerical staff, Health Services team, Engineering team and facility leadership for their unwavering dedication. The collaborative effort demonstrated by these divisions has transformed the initial classification process at WCC and shows the efficacy of ground up problem solving within the department.

“The work done at Shelton is a series of complicated machinations that the folks at WCC do with precision,” said Sean Murphy, Department of Corrections Deputy Secretary. “They have historically done more with less in a very complex setting. This project allowed us to right size some of the work, while we seek long-term investments from the legislature to make this work happen more reasonably. WCC staff are amazing masters of their craft, but they need the tools to do that work. This project helped with that.”

The celebration at WCC served as a testament to the positive outcomes achieved through Reimagine WCC. The commitment, diligence, and collaborative spirit displayed by the honored divisions have not only reshaped reception system procedures but have also contributed to creating a safer and more efficient correctional environment. The teams at WCC have identified more ways to streamline initial classification and the department is excited to see what else can be accomplished by Reimagine WCC in the future.