In WA, Minimum Ex-Con Supervision Can Mean More Crime


After leaving Washington state prisons, at least two inmates in the past four years committed murder after being deemed worthy of early release, says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Others raped children, and dozens more committed robberies or assaults — all while under the supervision of state corrections officers. The murderers, rapists, and robbers were among 122 felons convicted of violent crimes after the state judged their risk to reoffend as acceptable. Gov. Chris Gregoire, smarting from criticism about recent failures within the corrections department, has demanded a report on community supervision from Corrections Secretary Harold Clarke. Yesterday, she issued a strongly worded statement demanding that he find a way to keep violators locked up.

Said Bob Conner, a spokesman for King County Sheriff Sue Rahr: “It’s always a gamble when you release somebody. There’s never a guarantee that they’re not going to reoffend. The only sure way is to not release anybody.” Corrections Officer Denise Hollenbeck, a specialist in risk assessment, said, “From a human cost, it isn’t working. Basically, you’re going from active supervision — where you’ll be seen by someone — to passive, where it’s ‘good luck.’ The term ‘minimum supervision’ is a paradox because there’s none at all.” Said another officer: “Yes, we base our supervision of these individuals on their risk level, but it’s a numbers game. You can only manage so many people — or try to.”


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