‘Really disappointing situation’: DOC secretary addresses inmate protest at Monroe facility

Governor Jay Inslee and the state’s Department of Corrections secretary addressed a protest of at least 50 prisoners that took place at a Monroe facility Wednesday night, as well as protocols being put in place to protect other inmates from COVID-19. 

According to Stephen Sinclair, secretary of the state DOC, the protest broke out after six inmates tested positive for COVID-19 at the Monroe Correctional Complex. Those inmates were moved to different housing situations and a separate unit was placed under quarantine. 

Sinclair said 50 or so inmates broke that quarantine and went out into the recreation yard, not abiding by social distancing standards.  

“Really disappointing situation,” said Sinclair, who says those individuals have since been removed. 

“We’re taking all the steps we can possibly take,” Sinclair added. Those steps include updated protocols like performing temperature checks and putting any individuals with flu-like symptoms in isolation. 

In order to meet social distancing standards, Sinclair said they’re currently working on a plan that includes early release of non-violent drug offenders. 

In terms of bringing in new offenders, Sinclair said the weekly number of inmates taken into the system has slowed by roughly 20%. For people violating their terms of release, that number has reduced by roughly 66%. 

“Crime has continued, unfortunately, and we have to deal with that,” added Inslee.

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