Is or is not the state still using Pierce County as a dumping ground for ex-cons?
We applauded the Department of Corrections for changing its evil ways in an editorial Sunday. See my Dec. 23 post below.
I looked at the last few months of data. But our sharp-eyed reporter Joseph Turner looked back through August, the first full month a new policy required the DOC to document where its inmates had come from and where it had released them.
See his e-mail below, and state Sen. Mike Carrell’s response below it. Bottom line: It depends when you start counting.
Just for the record, Pierce County still is a net importer of ex-convicts since July 22, 2007, the date the Department of Corrections was supposed to begin sending ex-convicts back to the county of their first conviction (with exceptions, of course).
From July 22 through the end of November, 36 inmates who were first convicted in Pierce County were released to other counties. And 42 inmates who were first convicted in other counties were released to Pierce County.
That’s a net gain of 6 to Pierce County.
That’s according to the monthly reports that DOC puts out.
By excluding the month of August, it would appear that Pierce County is getting fewer than its fair share. But in August, the imbalance was 22-12. July was 4-4.
In November, other counties got 4 or ours and we got 7 of theirs.
It depends upon whether you wish to use the first month’s data. The department wasn’t implementing the bill correctly the first month. I feel that a more fair test is the past three months when they got the new system working better. It will take some length of time to be sure, but I think it is a good start.
The other point to make is that since the Law and Justice Council in each county has a role to play in that they can check the records, backgounds and situations of each felon moved into their county to double-check the correctness of the DOC determinations. DOC has never had to justify their decisions before. They simply place people according to where it suited DOC.
If DOC isn’t playing fair, I want to know. No county should have to take back more than its fair share based upon county of origin.