Monroe Correctional Complex (Washington State Department of Corrections)

Monroe Correctional Complex (Washington State Department of Corrections)

Inslee signs order to free hundreds of nonviolent prisoners

The state may release up to 950 inmates as officials look to prevent COVID-19 deaths behind bars.

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee signed a proclamation and a commutation order Wednesday, clearing the way for the state to free up to 950 inmates, in response to a state Supreme Court order to better protect inmates from COVID-19 in prisons.

Inslee’s action came hours after the state Department of Corrections reported three more inmates at the Monroe Correctional Complex tested positive for the disease. As of Wednesday, 10 prisoners and five staff have become infected with the coronavirus.

Last week amid news of the initial outbreak, dozens of prisoners in a minimum security wing of the Monroe prison had refused orders in a kind of protest, leading an armed response team to use pepper spray and rubber pellets to quell the unrest.

The commutation order applies to prisoners with an earned release date before June 30, as long as they were not convicted of a violent or sexual offense. It directs their release within seven days. About 18,000 people are held in state prisons, meaning the order could affect about 5 percent of the inmate population.

The order requires state Corrections to make a reasonable effort to contact victims and witnesses at least 48 hours in advance of a prisoner’s release.

The proclamation waives or suspends portions of several statutes, allowing early release of inmates who might not have completed release plans.

Both measures are in effect through May 15.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in News

In-paper debate, week 3: Stokesbary, Young on police accountability, state parks

This is part three of a debate between incumbent Drew Stokesbary and challenger Katie Young.

Screenshot from fredhutch.org
Fred Hutch seeks volunteers of color for COVID-19 study

Research company recently released a Spanish-language version of the website for accessibility, inclusivity.

High speed rail and hub cities explored in Cascadia Corridor study

A new paper outlines a potential plan for the region.

Second-half 2020 property taxes due Nov. 2

The deadline will not be extended.

Rocks and debris to keep SR 410 closed for weeks

The fire has led to a multitude of other issues that make the highway unsafe for drivers.

Former drainage district commissioner, wife charged again with conspiracy, aggravated identity theft

Allan and Joann Thomas of Enumclaw have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Should state cover school bus costs if there are no riders?

With funding tied to getting students to school, districts are uncertain how much money they’ll receive.

King County hosting virtual town hall Sept. 23

Check here for Zoom meeting information.

Enumclaw, Black Diamond police blotter | Sept. 1 – 10

Strange items around a dumpster, a suspicious Instacart driver, and a go-kart on the streets.

Most Read