Washington’s prisons may have hit pivotal moment as they eye deep cut in their population – By Nina Shapiro (Seattle Times) / Sept 17 2020
Twyla Kill is not used to agreeing with the state prison system. Her husband, serving time at the Monroe Correctional Complex, sued the state seeking the release of inmates due to COVID-19. She picketed outside the prison.
But she found herself shocked, in a good way, when she saw what the Department of Corrections (DOC) is proposing to save money as the pandemic eats into the state budget.
Needing to show the governor how it could cut 15%, the department drafted a strategy that had Kill from the first line. “There must be a significant and permanent reduction in prison population,” it read. Permanent, Kill stressed.
The state’s prison system now appears ready to lead the type of changes supported for years by activists and some legislators to counter increasingly long sentences, startling racial disproportionality and what is often termed mass incarceration. While the state’s incarceration rate has dipped roughly 9% over the last decade, and is lower than the national average, it is still more than double what it was in 1980.
Continue to article: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/a-transformational-moment-washingtons-prison-system-backs-reforms-as-it-faces-covid-19-budget-cuts-and-protests-over-racial-injustice/