Dept. of Corrections to plan for up to 15% budget cut: Will it jeopardize public safety?
“It’s worrisome there are people out there who can harm them, who have harmed in the past,” said Spraggins.
So Theresa isn’t happy to hear the state could cut $250 million from the Department of Corrections’ budget, potentially closing prisons and releasing offenders early.
Gov. Jay Inlsee’s budget office directed the DOC and other agencies to create a contingency plan by mid-September to prepare for up to 15% across-the-board budget cuts for 2015-2017 budget years.
The 15% reduction is meant to funnel more resources into public education as part of the state Supreme Court’s decision on McCleary v. State requiring the Legislature to fully fund K-12 learning.
“They’re squeezed. We’re all squeezed budget wise, but with the sex offenders and violent offenders, that’s not the place to cut,” said sex offender counselor Dan Knoepfler.
DOC sources tell Q13 FOX News that the cuts could eliminate community corrections parole officers who keep tabs on inmates when they’re released.
“It’s a risky time when people are transitioning out of prison. They’re used to a certain way of life. They’re used to external controls and being held accountable,” said Knoepfler. “It’s someone to make sure they’re not living near a day care or not in a relationship with a woman with small kids.”
On Monday, repeat child rapist Cory Roberts was released to a halfway house in Tacoma. He raped and beat Kelly McGinnis’ 3-year-old daughter in 1990. Roberts will be supervised for nearly two years. Without any supervision at all, experts say the odds to re-offend become greater.
“Sooner or later something bad will happen. It just will. It’s not rocket science that those guys should be watched,” said Knoepfler.
Inslee will look over the agencies’ cuts and present his proposed budget to the new Legislature in January.