Monroe Correctional Complex (Washington State Department of Corrections)

Monroe Correctional Complex (Washington State Department of Corrections)

Inslee signs order to free hundreds of nonviolent prisoners

The state may release up to 950 inmates as officials look to prevent COVID-19 deaths behind bars.

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee signed a proclamation and a commutation order Wednesday, clearing the way for the state to free up to 950 inmates, in response to a state Supreme Court order to better protect inmates from COVID-19 in prisons.

Inslee’s action came hours after the state Department of Corrections reported three more inmates at the Monroe Correctional Complex tested positive for the disease. As of Wednesday, 10 prisoners and five staff have become infected with the coronavirus.

Last week amid news of the initial outbreak, dozens of prisoners in a minimum security wing of the Monroe prison had refused orders in a kind of protest, leading an armed response team to use pepper spray and rubber pellets to quell the unrest.

The commutation order applies to prisoners with an earned release date before June 30, as long as they were not convicted of a violent or sexual offense. It directs their release within seven days. About 18,000 people are held in state prisons, meaning the order could affect about 5 percent of the inmate population.

The order requires state Corrections to make a reasonable effort to contact victims and witnesses at least 48 hours in advance of a prisoner’s release.

The proclamation waives or suspends portions of several statutes, allowing early release of inmates who might not have completed release plans.

Both measures are in effect through May 15.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bothell-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bothell-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

File photo of construction near North Bend on Aug. 16. Sound Publishing file photo
                                File photo of construction near North Bend on Aug. 16. Sound Publishing file photo
Rural King County mayors want state to let them enter Phase 2

Mayors cite heavy economic damage from prolonged shutdown.

New dashboard shows how far along King County is to meeting Phase II metrics

The county has met more than half its goals, but the ones it hasn’t met are critical in determining how many people are still being infected, and how quickly people are being tested.

As sales tax plummets in King County, mental health and drug program funding dries up

County will need to make severe cuts to MIDD program this year.

Auburn Mountain View Cemetery Manager Craig Hudson, center, confers with maintenance workers David Partridge, left, and Zach Hopper in March 2020. Sound Publishing file photo
State allows weddings, funerals, religious services to restart with restrictions

Gov. Inslee issues new rules during May 27 news conference.

State loosens cougar hunting restrictions

The regulations will impact 19 areas around the state.

American Medical Response (AMR) organized a parade of first responders to show appreciation for St. Elizabeth Hospital staff April 30. Photo by Ray Miller-Still/Sound Publishing
The complications of counting COVID deaths in Washington

State relies on results of tests and death certificates in calculating the daily toll of the disease.

Republicans file lawsuit over Inslee’s emergency: ‘Facts, and the science, are clear’

Lawsuit says state has violated Constitutional rights of citizens.

A look at construction work. Photo courtesy city of Kenmore
Kenmore shares update on West Sammamish River Bridge construction, Memorial Day

No construction is scheduled for Saturday (May 23) through Monday (May 25).

Most Read