TUMWATER – Recognizing the need to update and align correctional operations and practices to be more informed by the differences between men and women, the Department of Corrections (DOC) will formally create a Women’s Prison Division within the agency.
At Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC), the overall mission is to improve public safety by positively changing lives. The focus of the entire department is on ensuring better neighbors return to society.
TUMWATER – The Washington State Department of Corrections was notified that Correctional Officer Gabriel Forrest, 42 years of age, passed away on Thursday, June 17, 2021 from complications of COVID-19.
TUMWATER – Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary Cheryl Strange has appointed former corrections leader Sean Murphy as Deputy Secretary of Correctional Operations for the department.
SEATTLE – When Victoria Garza entered prison in August 2018 for the second time, she never thought she would one day use the skills she learned in order to reinforce the metal structure components of the Washington State Convention Center’s expansion.
In April 2021, at the annual Math and Science Fair at Cedar Creek Corrections Center in Littlerock, Wash., approximately 20 socially distanced fathers used creativity and ingenuity during an outdoor event, making projects for their children.
Starting in 2017, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) partnered together to bring healthier food and beverage options for incarcerated individuals, a population disproportionately affected by chronic diseases.
GIG HARBOR – Two incarcerated women inside the Washington Corrections Center for Women’s (WCCW) Braille transcription program have been selected to give presentations at a national Braille conference on April 16, 2021.
As the nation reached one year since the beginning of COVID-19 restrictions, the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) looks back on its response to COVID-19, first in support of other state agencies, then providing much needed produce to the state’s food banks, assisting with the low supply of hand sanitizer across the state all while following health and safety protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Washington State Department of Corrections continues to take steps to ensure incarcerated individuals have opportunities to engage in pro-social programs and activities that assist in a reduction of recidivism.
TUMWATER – On February 25, 2021, the Washington State Supreme Court issued an opinion in State of Washington v. Blake (pdf), declaring that RCW 69.50.4013 (Washington’s simple possession of a controlled substance statute) violates the due process clause of the state and federal constitutions and is therefore void.
At the Correctional Industries’ Textile Factory, located in the Airway Heights Corrections Center in Spokane County, you will see there are professional uniforms being produced for various state agencies.
TUMWATER – On the dates of January 26 and January 29, 2021, two individuals, both incarcerated at Airway Heights Corrections Center in Airway Heights, Wash., passed away at community healthcare facilities due to COVID-19.
Prison systems have been in existence for centuries, evolving from isolated colonies or dungeons to buildings with bars, and from inhumane chain gangs, to the current concept of mentoring and supporting those in our criminal justice system.
TUMWATER – Stephen Sinclair, Washington State Department of Corrections Secretary, has announced his retirement effective May 1, following more than three decades of service to the state of Washington.
TUMWATER – The Washington State Department of Corrections was notified that Correctional Officer David A. Christensen, 62 years of age, passed away on Tuesday, December 29, 2020, from complications of COVID-19.
MONROE – Each year, the Washington State Department of Corrections, partnering law enforcement agencies and the greater Monroe community come together to celebrate the life of fallen Correctional Officer Jayme Biendl.
TUMWATER – As of December 28, 2020, the Washington State Department of Corrections has received limited COVID-19 vaccine doses and began vaccinating staff and a limited number of incarcerated individuals, according to the approved Phase 1A dosing prioritization.
The Washington State Department of Corrections recognizes the significance and importance of incarcerated individuals’ constitutionally protected rights to believe, express and exercise their religion.
TUMWATER – Correctional Industries, the Washington Department of Corrections’ division focused on vocational education and job readiness of the incarcerated population, is seeking three representatives on its advisory committee.
The Washington State Department of Corrections reduced the number of people in administrative segregation, one of two types of the department’s restrictive housing measures, by approximately 10 percent during the first half of calendar year 2020—despite the challenges of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
TUMWATER – The Washington State Department of Corrections and Amend at the University of California San Francisco have launched a partnership to continue efforts in achieving further pro-social improvements in the Washington correctional system.
TUMWATER – Secretary Stephen Sinclair has named Susan Biller as the interim communications director for the Washington Department of Corrections, effective October 12, 2020. Biller currently serves as the public information officer for the Monroe Correctional Complex (MCC).
With teams of individuals across the state highly trained in emergency response, the Department of Corrections frequently deploys employees with a wide range of skills from a variety of divisions to assist in incidents and law enforcement task forces both in-state and across the nation.
TUMWATER – As various counties move through the Governor’s Safe Start phased reopening plan, effective September 23, 2020, the Washington Department of Corrections is re-establishing social outings with strict criteria to protect families, incarcerated individuals, staff and communities at work release facilities in three pilot locations.
SEATTLE – From locating reproductive health care to learning how to be resilient after years of exposure to violent relationships prior to incarceration, justice-involved women face different obstacles during reentry than those of their male counterparts.
TACOMA – Local organizations that help shelter people who are homeless and survivors of domestic violence in Puget Sound received thousands of dollars in donations, thanks to incarcerated individuals from correctional facilities across Washington.
TUMWATER – As the Washington State Department of Corrections passes the six-month mark of its active emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Secretary Steve Sinclair provided an update on the department’s current status, key elements of its response and a look to the future at a virtual news conference from its headquarters in Olympia.
The Washington State Department of Corrections recently took its talent acquisition efforts online as the department worked to fill more than 100 vital correctional officer, healthcare and other jobs at facilities statewide.
TUMWATER – The Washington State Patrol Investigative Services Bureau has released the results (pdf) of its independent investigation into the events that resulted in the death of an incarcerated individual at the Airway Heights Corrections Center in Airway Heights, Wash.
The Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) has long had an administrative process to ensure those under its custody have the ability to share concerns with and seek remedies from agency leadership.
TUMWATER – Govenor Jay Inslee has appointed TaTeasha Davis to Washington’s Indeterminate Sentence Review Board, a quasi-judicial board located within the Department of Corrections that hears cases, conducts hearings, oversees supervision violation hearings and provides services to victims of inmates under the board's jurisdiction.
WALLA WALLA – The Washington State Department of Corrections continues to take steps to ensure incarcerated individuals have opportunities to engage in pro-social programs that assist in a reduction of recidivism.
With society’s supply of hand sanitizer extremely low in early March due to COVID-19, Washington State Department of Corrections' Correctional Industries (CI) decided to help people's safety by beginning to make hand sanitizer.
CONNELL – The Coyote Ridge Corrections Center (CRCC) today released preliminary COVID-19 test results after testing more than 1,800 individuals incarcerated in its Medium Security Complex and 660 staff working across the entire facility from June 24-29, 2020.
In this time of deep turmoil in our state and across the nation, I want to share my deep and ongoing commitment to you, our Corrections family, and to those we support both within our facilities and in the community.
TUMWATER – While parts of Washington move into Phase II of the Governor’s Safe Start plan, the state’s food banks are reporting greater needs — all while facing a 70 percent drop in donations, according to the WA Food Fund.
AIRWAY HEIGHTS – Recognizing a heightened need for fresh produce in response to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, incarcerated individuals at the Airway Heights Corrections Center planted various vegetables in their approximately 1.5-acre J Garden.
CONNELL – The Coyote Ridge Corrections Center has spent the last several months collaborating between staff and incarcerated individuals to create positive change and provide opportunities to give back to the community through expansion of garden areas at Coyote Ridge.
WALLA WALLA – The Washington State Penitentiary is adding 90 acres of garbanzo beans, 10 acres of other vegetables and another acre of pumpkins to the 10 and a half acres already planted in its sustainability garden and its Sustainable Practices Lab Green Zone.
TUMWATER – The Washington State Department of Corrections was notified that Correctional Officer Berisford Anthony Morse, 65 years of age, passed away on Sunday, May 17, 2020 from complications of COVID-19.
TUMWATER – The Washington State Department of Corrections is planning for the transfer of incarcerated individuals back to their communities. The goal in transferring a limited number of individuals to the community is to provide more physical distancing within the state’s correctional facilities.
National Crime Victims' Rights week is April 19–25, 2020. This year’s theme, "Seek Justice | Ensure Victims' Rights | Inspire Hope," celebrates the progress made by advocates who paved the way as we look to a future of crime victim services that is even more inclusive, accessible, and trauma-informed.
TUMWATER – The Washington State Department of Corrections has received confirmation that two additional incarcerated men housed within the Monroe Correctional Complex have tested positive for COVID-19.
TUMWATER – The Washington State Department of Corrections has begun to issue expired N95 respirators to staff who work closely with those incarcerated in state correctional facilities, work release centers and supervised under community custody.
TUMWATER – With response to COVID-19 expected to affect the Department of Corrections’ staffing levels over the coming months, the department is implementing an expedited hiring and training process for ‘Limited Scope Correctional Officer 1 (CO1)’ positions.
TUMWATER – On Tuesday, March 3, 2020, an incarcerated patient was transported to a Snohomish County medical center from the Monroe Correctional Complex for medically necessary health care that could not be provided at the correctional facility.
TUMWATER – The Department of Corrections (DOC) has been working closely with Department of Health (DOH), the Office of Financial Management, State Human Resources Division, the State Emergency Management Division and other state agencies in developing plans to maintain the health and safety of DOC employees, those under supervision and our communities.
TUMWATER – Late on March 13, 2020, a Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) employee working on the third floor of Department of Corrections Headquarters reported they tested positive for COVID-19.
TUMWATER – Late yesterday, the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) confirmed that an employee working at the Monroe Correctional Complex-Washington State Reformatory (MCC-WSR) has tested positive for COVID-19.
Once incarcerated, parents are able to stay connected with their families through visits and phone calls but there are fewer ways for parents to stay connected in the learning development of their child.
TACOMA – Incarcerated artists in correctional facilities all over the state are raising money for social justice causes and victims of domestic violence through the Unguarded Art Auction at LeMay America’s Car Museum.
GIG HARBOR – Education in Washington’s correctional facilities received a huge boost from legislators in 2019 when they approved a pilot project to explore providing secure internet access for incarcerated individuals.
TUMWATER – The Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) has selected Melena Thompson as its new Executive Policy Director, replacing Alex MacBain, who was recruited earlier this year to lead the House Democratic Caucus as Chief of Staff.
AIRWAY HEIGHTS – Families experiencing homelessness, female victims of domestic violence, and teens in overnight shelters will be a little warmer, thanks to some inmates at Airway Heights Corrections Center.
BELFAIR – Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women held its annual Relay for Life event in June 2019 and raised about $2,500 for the American Cancer Society, the event sponsor, to aid in the search for a cure.
FORKS – Washington Department of Corrections and local law enforcement are searching for inmate, Mark David Vannausdle, 60, who escaped from the Olympic Corrections Center at approximately 7:08 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, while en route from his living unit to the dining facility.
LITTLEROCK – Washington Department of Corrections and local law enforcement are searching for an inmate, Jeffrey Allen Beach, 29, who escaped from a Correctional Industries work crew working at the Washington Department of Transportation-Ferries warehouse in Seattle, Wash., at approximately 10:46 a.m. on Friday, July 19, 2019.
Colorful leis and floral lava-lava skirts could be seen twirling around at Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) as the incarcerated individuals and their guests gathered together for the annual Asian Pacific Islander cultural event.
TUMWATER – For the past year, the Department of Corrections has teamed with the Washington State Department of Transportation to provide those releasing into the community a chance to work for the state.
TUMWATER – Correctional Industries, the Washington Department of Corrections’ division focused on vocational education and job readiness of the incarcerated population, is seeking six new representatives on its advisory committee.
For the past few years, Correctional Industries (CI) has given those approaching their release date the chance to practice their interview skills, while also networking with employers during a mock interview event.
Thanks to a partnership between the Washington Department of Licensing and the incarcerated men at Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Aberdeen, select state licensing offices will have kiosks and backdrops at each office counter for more efficient customer service.
TUMWATER – The Department of Corrections is excited to announce its partnership with the Vera Institute of Justice as it launches a new phase of restrictive housing reform, Safe Prisons, Safe Communities: From Isolation to Dignity and Wellness Behind Bars.
Every year since 1993, the American Nurses Association has declared the week of May 6-12 National Nurses Week to give communities and organizations all over the nation the chance to commemorate the immense contributions and impact of the four million currently registered nurses in America.
YACOLT – Hairspray, bobby pins, and lipstick filled the tables of Larch Corrections Center’s visiting room as incarcerated dads and their daughters learned how to style hair and do makeup at the annual father/daughter event.
TUMWATER – Loretta Taylor has been named as the new Education Services Administrator by Assistant Secretary for Reentry Danielle Armbruster within the Washington Department of Corrections, effective Monday, January 28, 2019.
TUMWATER – Sarah Sytsma has been named as the director of Correctional Industries (CI) by Assistant Secretary for Reentry Danielle Armbruster within the Washington Department of Corrections, effective January 16, 2019.
YACOLT – Streamers & music filled the Larch Corrections Center (LCC) gym as it was transformed into a formal dance hall for 22 incarcerated fathers and their daughters on March 17, 2018. This year marked the fourth annual Father/Daughter event and dance.
TUMWATER – National Library Week is April 8-14, 2018. The Washington State Department of Corrections has nine institutional libraries delivered through an interagency agreement with the Washington State Library, a division of the Secretary of State's Office.
SHELTON – The Black Prisoners Caucus (BPC) at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton hosted a Youth Summit. The panel was comprised of 11 incarcerated men who shared their stories of what led to their incarceration.
Judy Dutcher spent years in a dark place after a neighbor murdered her 13-year-old daughter in 1989. She never thought receiving a letter from the person who killed her daughter would be the key to helping her feel whole again.
TACOMA – Inmates from across the state are helping hurricane victims, one brush stroke at a time. The Department of Corrections (DOC), in partnership with Bates Technical College and Numbers2Names volunteers, is hosting an art auction Friday, February 16, 2018 to raise money for hurricane relief.
GIG HARBOR – Human Resources Consultant Paula Andrew is the self-proclaimed “Chicken Lady” of Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW). When she saw a picture of a chicken in a sweater vest online, an idea popped into her head: Why not do something similar for the chickens at WCCW?
MONROE – Detective Sgt. Barry Hatch with the Monroe Police Department never knew Jayme Biendl in life. But he’s one of several hundred community members who come together each year to remember and honor the fallen correctional officer.
VANCOUVER – Keeping the streets safe can be a daunting task, especially for a city with an approximate population of 175,000 people. Vancouver, Washington is home to an interagency gang unit that was just recognized for their outstanding work.
LITTLEROCK – John Lanell Fitzpatrick never went to high school. He got involved in the ‘gangster life’ when he was just a boy. In 2009, he was convicted of robbery, unlawful imprisonment with a firearm, and attempting to elude a police vehicle.
GIG HARBOR – Bridie Clevenger started using drugs when she was 9. It was the only way she knew how to mask the pain of abuse and sexual assault she endured from family members. As an adult, she stole money from people's bank accounts to pay for her addiction, which landed her in prison. She never guessed prison would save her life.
GIG HARBOR – Stacks of folded blue jeans sit on shelves that stretch from wall to wall. Blouses of various colors, sizes, and textures drape from hangers. This clothing closet is like most others. Except, it's located inside a prison.
GIG HARBOR – Inmate Candida Suarez described a sibling rivalry between her 17-month-old son, Ezra, and his new sibling. When she showered Ezra's younger brother with attention, Ezra would hit him. If his brother was on the bed, Ezra would push him off.
When an officer dies in the line of duty, the community is shaken to its core. Family members, friends and co-workers grieve. While everyone else mourns, the honor guard steps up to ensure the officer's tribute is flawless.
Barbara Davenport leads training sessions for dog handlers two or three times per year for Department of Corrections' officers and participants from other law enforcement agencies. Davenport estimates she's trained more than 450 dogs over the past 32 years.
AIRWAY HEIGHTS – Inmate dog handlers in the Airway Heights Corrections Center (AHCC) Pawsitive Dogs program had a rare opportunity to meet the woman who helped bring animal training programs to prisons all over the nation.
TACOMA – A state Department of Corrections’ specialist, assigned to the FBI’s South Sound Task Force, arrested a wanted drug dealer and confiscated more than $100,000 in cash and five pounds of methamphetamine at a residential duplex last week.
BREMERTON — Community Corrections Specialist Nick Weber figured there might be trouble when he rounded a corner at Forest Ridge Park and spotted a violent suspect wanted for stealing firearms sitting in a Chevy Blazer with his girlfriend.