OLYMPIA, Wash. – A major overhaul could be in store for the state’s community supervision program.
State lawmakers are considering several bills that would change funding channels and the method in which supervision terms are carried out for offenders when they're released from prison.
The union representing community corrections officers has raised serious concerns about the proposals.
“These are dangerous bills that put the community at risk,” said Don Malo with the Washington State Federation of Employees. “This legislation is bad public policy. It’s going to put the public at risk and also going to put victims and potential victims at risk.”
Malo is elected as an executive board member to the union representing community corrections officers (CCOs), and has worked for the last five years as a community corrections officer in the state.
Malo has experience working with offenders just released from prison for sex crimes, gang-related violence and drug use.
“We also want to help people be reintegrated into society and be productive citizens,” said Malo.
The state bills are getting bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.
Malo is against cuts to full-time employees under the program and does not support changing supervision sentences from consecutively served to concurrently served.
“It would change a potential 36 month community custody term into 12 months,” said Malo as an example of three separate one-year supervision sentences. “That’s less time that I have to be able to monitor their behavior and correct their behavior, and it also dramatically impacts the amount of time I have to be able to monitor the safety of the victims.”
State Rep. Roger Goodman, a Kirkland Democrat, is a sponsor of the bills. He said new legislation will expand services for inmates who are reentering society and limit wasting resources on offenders who don’t require supervision, refocusing those efforts to offenders who need more supervision.
“This legislation will improve public safety and we’re making historic new investments in more law enforcement on the streets," Goodman said.
At last check, Malo said the House was looking to cut five full-time positions, while the Senate was considering a few dozen full-time positions.
“We don’t want our jobs to be sacrificed for cost savings,” said Malo.