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Tag: Eldon Vail


How not to manage a problem prisoner

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

State prison officials have handed one of their biggest troublemakers a major legal victory – and possibly a heap of taxpayers’ money as well.

On Thursday, a unanimous state Supreme Court ruled that the state Department of Corrections must pay convicted arsonist Allan Parmelee’s attorney fees.

The case stems from a July 2005 letter Parmelee wrote to then-prison secretary Harold Clarke. Parmelee complained about the treatment of prisoners at Clallam Bay Corrections Center.

Parmelee wrote that he had discovered what was causing all the tension at the prison: “Having a man-hater lesbian as a superintendent is like throwing gas on (an) already smoldering fire.”

Offensive? Yes, but no more so than how prison officials responded. They cited Parmelee for violating an arcane 1869 criminal libel law and gave him 10 days in isolation.

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