Washington DOC plans to release inmates to limit COVID-19 spread in jails

home detention

TUMWATER, Wash. — The Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) is planning to release inmates back into the community to provide more physical distancing in corrections centers.

This follows Governor Jay Inslee’s emergency commutation order on Wednesday, allowing for the release of comparatively low-threat inmates to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The DOC says they are ‘implementing strategies’ who they release; inmates with violent or sexual or drug- and alcohol-related offenses will not be released, and they are prioritizing people who are near the end of their jail terms.

They say correctional staff will confirm inmates case by case, requiring them to have an established address and state identification.

Additionally, DOC Secretary Stephen Sinclair says they will implement a program to allow certain inmates to serve out up to six months of their terms with an electronic monitoring device. People on work release will also be granted emergency furloughs, that is, authorized leave of absence without having to be monitored or accompanied by a corrections official.