Report–Vaccine Mandate Firings Decimate DOC Rehab Programs
After Gov. Inslee fired at least 500 Department of Corrections workers this week over his mandatory vaccine policy, now GOP leaders have released a report indicating the DOC will face further stresses, especially with rehab programs.
State Senator Keith Wagoner (R-Sedro Wooley) says prior to COVID the DOC was understaffed. COVID restrictions and some job losses made it even worse, and now there's not enough staff. According to Wagoner:
“Many inmates are unable to participate in rehabilitation programs because our correctional facilities don’t currently have enough staff to implement them. This is a huge detriment to the rehabilitative process. It is the state’s responsibility to ensure the well-being of individuals in our correctional facilities, and this mandate severely inhibits that. It’s an unhealthy and unsafe environment for both the incarcerated and our correctional staff.”
That is ironic since rehab and alternative punishment programs are a favorite of Gov. Inslee, who has spent most of his tenure in Olympia trying to find ways to lessen sentences and punishment for convicted offenders. This includes signing a moratorium on death penalty executions.
Wagoner says in addition, Inslee's Proclamation 20-08.1 put a halt to transferring prisoners to DOC facilities for fear they would spread COVID. Wagoner says the actual infection and transmission rates in prison have been surprisingly low, but not being able to move inmates to facilities with rehab programs further sets back progress.
Although it is known at least 500 plus DOC workers were fired this week, Wagoner's report, dated Thursday Oct. 21, says as many as 1,037 could end up leaving due to Inslee's mandate.