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 with 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.)

Leave a comment Comments → 2
  1. truthbusterguy says:

    Senator Regala

    Wish you would talk to your friends at the state worker unions. It has been suggested that inmate labor be used to back fill laid off state workers that work the roads and in the parks. The high hurdle with this comes from your buddies in the unions. They said NO!!!. So weeds grow and state parks go unmaintained. Parks are falling apart and you wonder why no one wants to buy your socialist Discover Pass.

  2. skippyjoe says:

    Senator, while the jobs do provide a needed way for offenders to stay occupied, lets be honest and talk about the monopoly CI has and how state agencies are held hostage and required to purchase from them.. Even when we can show we can purchase items of higher quality and cheaper we are required to buy CI products. This is not cost effective for the state. This is not how any of us run our households and we should not run the state this way either. CI also is the one who hand picks their workers. Offenders do have to meet certain criteria, but CI picks the cream of the crop and offenders who meet the criteria are often passed up as CI does not want to give all offenders equal opportunity for employment. Additionally, these same inmates may get infractions and if CI likes them, they will retain them in their job as they are “trained” and CI does not want to have to take the time to train a new offender to do the job.

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