State will stop sending inmates elsewhere
The state Department of Corrections plans to stop sending inmates to private, out-of-state prisons and to begin shipping home the 1,200...
Seattle Times staff reporter
The state Department of Corrections plans to stop sending inmates to private, out-of-state prisons and to begin shipping home the 1,200 inmates at those facilities this summer, according to Secretary Eldon Vail.
The state prisons system has rented out-of-state prison beds since 2003 to ease overcrowding, but the scheduled opening in January 2009 of the new Coyote Ridge prison in Franklin County will likely allow the Department of Corrections (DOC) to keep all prisoners in state.
According to DOC projections of bed capacity, about 300 inmates currently at private prisons run by Correctional Corp. of America (CCA) will be shipped home by November. By April 2009, 360 more will return, with the rest arriving by July 2009, provided the Legislature does not create new laws that would significantly add to the prison population, Vail said.
"If everything goes according to plan, we'll start bringing guys home this summer and have them all home next summer," Vail said.
That is welcome news for inmates' families, including Nicole Brummitt, whose high-school sweetheart, Joshua Scott, was transferred in April from a state prison near Aberdeen to a CCA-run prison in Arizona. Scott is serving a 17-year sentence for a 2000 robbery conviction.
Brummitt said the transfer disrupted weekly visits between Scott and his 11-year-old son. "He would do homework with the kids, and read books," said Brummitt, 29. "He knows everything that goes on in our lives."
Due in part to Brummitt's lobbying, the Legislature is considering a bill that would ban out-of-state transfers for inmates who are in regular contact with their families, or who participate in parent-teacher conferences.
The out-of-state transfers have put DOC at odds with its own program to keep fathers connected with their children. Research has shown that inmates who keep close contact with their families have lower recidivism rates, and their children are less likely to be incarcerated.
The out-of-state transfers also put more pressure on prisons because CCA — the largest private jailer in the country — will take only healthy, well-behaved inmates.
Vail said the new Coyote Ridge prison, a 1,280-bed medium-security facility, will open bed space for the out-of-state inmates. In addition, the DOC has also agreed to rent about 300 beds at the Yakima County Jail.
Brummitt said the transfers can't come soon enough. "I'm still not satisfied until he's home," she said.
Jonathan Martin: 206-464-2605 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 09:46 AM
Exxon Mobil wins ruling in Alaska oil spill case
NEW - 7:51 AM
Longview man says he was tortured with hot knife
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.
(Courtesy of LeMay — America's Car Museum) New LeMay exhibit to look at NASCAR LeMay — America's Car Museum in Tacoma will look at the wil...
Post a comment