Prison inmates convicted of murder and other violent crimes could be released without supervision if Washington state lawmakers agree to a drastic set of cuts outlined by the state Department of Corrections, reports the Seattle Times. Under one proposal, some 12,000 of the 17,000 felons now supervised in the state’s version of parole would be unsupervised upon release from prison, a move one corrections official called “devastating.”
Other “reduction alternatives” include increasing inmates’ health-care co-pays to $4 from $3 and releasing inmates judged to be low and moderate risks to re-offend 120 days early, as long as they had not been convicted of a sex offense. Hoping to head off some proposed cuts, corrections officials are making budget trims in advance of the state legislature’s special session set for the end of November. Among expenditures that could be on the chopping block is a 1,000-bed prison that the state plans to open by 2016.