Griffey bill to reduce recidivism, expand access to inmate work programs gets governor’s approval

Yesterday, Gov. Jay Inslee signed Rep. Dan Griffey’s bill that will help reduce recidivism and increase employment for former inmates.

House Bill 1248 will enable the Correctional Industries (CI) division of the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) to provide Class I industries work programs by aligning Washington statute with federal regulations. Class I allows CI to contract with private companies to operate their businesses inside Washington’s correctional facilities. The last time Class 1 industries operated in Washington was in 2004, before the state Supreme Court ruled Class I partnerships unconstitutional in Washington Water Jet Workers Association v. Yarborough.

Currently, CI provides inmate work programs throughout Washington’s facilities, allowing inmates to gain work experience and earn comparable wages to what would be paid in the community.

Griffey, who serves on the Correctional Industries Advisory Committee, says the bill will provide inmates with marketable skills to enter the workforce upon reentry, thereby reducing recidivism.

“The vocational training and soft skills correctional industries provide inmates makes a world of difference in the types of community members they become upon release,” said Griffey, R-Allyn. “Correctional industries are evidence-based and provide inmates the tools they need to become productive members of society, reducing the likelihood of them reoffending and further burdening or harming our communities.”

CI employs roughly 2,700 offenders annually and of those released, 51 percent achieve employment. A study conducted by Washington State University determined inmates who participate in CI programs are significantly less likely to reoffend.

“The passage of House Bill 1248 will allow Washington State Correctional Industries to expand work training opportunities for incarcerated individuals, positively impact reentry into their communities, and increase public safety,” said Danielle Armbruster, assistant secretary for DOC.

House Bill 1248 will go into effect 90 days after the adjournment of the 2017 legislative session.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov