Letters to the Editor

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DOC: Nose misleading about inmate work

Letter by Debbie Regala, Tacoma on July 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm | 2 Comments »
July 5, 2012 10:01 am

A recent Nose column item (TNT, 6-15) may have given readers an inaccurate understanding of our state’s Correctional Industries program.

This program is a proven key factor in a successful transition from incarceration back to the community. Inmates are provided an opportunity for productive employment during incarceration while learning or improving the skills which will increase their employability once released.

These are not “make-work” jobs. Inmates must be infraction-free for 12 months before applying for a CI job. They must have recommendations from correctional officers who are familiar with them. And they must have sufficient skills and the ability to perform the job. Any infraction or “hanky-panky” results in termination.

Inmates are proud to be able to obtain these jobs. They are not inclined to risk termination by foolish actions just to get their “jollies,” as the Nose put it.

Correctional Industries does produce a wide variety of products for the benefit of governmental and nonprofit agencies. This helps to lower costs to taxpayers while not competing with private enterprise. The manufacturing operations follow modern “lean” principles, which include a quality-control step utilizing civilian union staff, not inmates.

(Regala is a state senator representing Tacoma’s 27th Legislative District.)

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