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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77971 Find in a Library
Title: Washington State Seeks a Return to Normalcy
Journal: Corrections Magazine  Volume:7  Issue:3  Dated:(June 1981)  Pages:33-37
Author(s): B Ramsey; S Gettinger
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 5
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The problems facing Washington State's correctional system and its new director of the Adult Corrections Division are reviewed.
Abstract: When the new director was appointed in January 1981, major disturbances had recently occurred at the Washington Corrections Center at Shelton and at the Washington State Penitentiary at Walla Walla, where prison conditions were found to be unconstitutional and a Federal judge had ordered the State to reduce the population and to make major improvements. Every institution in the State was severely overcrowded; the Adult Division was $3 million in debt, and a conservative legislature was calling for determinate sentencing measures that would send more felons to prison and have them serve longer terms. The director has emphasized management reform, and the legislature, at his urging, has recently passed a bill removing the corrections department from an umbrella agency and giving the director cabinet-level status. The director is focusing his attention on restructuring the department and improving its financial situation. To help solve the overcrowding problem, the director has encouraged the State to lease the abandoned Federal penitentiary on McNeil Island. By the end of the year, this facility is expected to house about 500 inmates on a temporary basis. Moreover, the State legislature has approved $28.4 million for a new prison, and planning money has been approved for a second. Officials say a third will be necessary as well. Intense local opposition has arisen at the site of the new prison, but the State still plans to construct it at Monroe in western Washington. In contrast to the 'get tough' attitude evident among the State's population, the new director feels that those who are sent to prison shold be more carefully selected and should stay for shorter terms. In addition, he feels that good treatment of inmates results in a reduction of security problems. Photographs are included. A reference list is not provided.
Index Term(s): Correctional institutions (adult); Correctional planning; Correctional reform; Corrections management; Overcrowding; Washington
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