Marking the first time in more than a year the troubled Washington state corrections department has had a permanent leader, Gov. Jay Inslee named Stephen Sinclair to head it, reports the Seattle Times. The appointment came as the agency works to recover from its long-running mistaken early release of prisoners and the subsequent discovery of other sentencing problems. Sinclair has worked at the agency for 28 years.
“I think Steve’s talents are exactly what we need,” the governor said, citing Sinclair’s experience and desire to reduce crime by lowering recidivism. In 2015, it was revealed that for more than a decade, a sentence-calculation problem had mistakenly freed thousands of prisoners before they were scheduled for release. Two people were killed by offenders who should have still been in prison. Other ex-inmates who were trying to build lives back in their communities were rounded up to serve out their sentences. Last year, the agency found that issues with court documents were leading to other incorrect sentences and that some sex offenders had been mistakenly released from community supervision.