Conversation with Chase Riveland, Head of Washington Corrections when the tough-on-crime wave hit

When Chase Riveland came to Washington in 1986 to head up the state's Department of Corrections he stepped into the eye of a storm. Behind him was an era of institutional crisis that culminated in riots at Walla Walla and Monroe and was brought under control by his predecessor, Amos Reed (1980-1986). Just ahead, Washington was about to be swept up in a national tough-on-crime wave that would lead to a tripling of the state's incarceration rate.

This was a key turning point for the state and Riveland was instrumental in setting a course that brought Washington through these years with fewer negative impacts than many other states have experienced. He not only resisted the political fads of the day but also actively reached out to the policy community and the public. In 1993, for example, he and other corrections and criminal justice professionals founded the Campaign for an Effective Crime Policy, which sought to break through the rhetoric on crime and bring information to policymakers on "what works" to reduce it. (1)

Shortly before Riveland entered office, Washington enacted the 1984 Sentencing Review Act (SRA), an overhaul of the state's criminal code.  One of the initial effects of the SRA was a reduction in the state's prison population.  A 1987 New York Times article described the law as the result of an "unusual alliance" between liberals, who wanted more equity in criminal sentencing, and conservatives, who wanted more certainty.  The reporter quoted Riveland as generally approving: "The absence of a crisis atmosphere," Riveland said, "allows for rational planning and solid solutions rather than reliance on fads."  (2)  Years later, a nation-wide Vera Institute of Justice study concluded that the SRA's combination of determinate sentencing (no more parole) and guidelines limiting sentence lengths on both the upper and lower ends, was optimal for keeping incarceration rates lower in relation to crime. (3)

The relative calm was short-lived. During the next two decades, increased penalties for drug offenses and nearly 200 amendments to the SRA (4) led to more than a tripling of Washington's prison population.  Given the underlying structure of the SRA and the moderating influence of policymakers like Riveland, Washington's rate has stayed well below the national average while our crime rate has continued to drop along with that of the rest of the nation.  Nevertheless, even by the early 1990s, prison costs had risen dramatically, presenting a major fiscal challenge for the state, especially after tax and spending limits kicked in under Initiative 601.

Faced with the need to reduce those costs, the legislature over the years enacted a broad mix of laws.  Many of these, such as drug courts, worked well. (5)  One of its first responses, however, was not to address the rise in incarceration that was driving costs, but to economize by 'making prisons more uncomfortable' for inmates and their families -- in the hope that these measures, in addition to reaping immediate economic benefits, would also serve as deterrence. (6)  

In 1995, House Bill 2010 cut prison staff, reduced educational and recreation opportunities for inmates, limited family visits, required inmates to pay for basic hygiene supplies (and to purchase them in the high-priced prison stores), instituted co-payments for doctor visits, and deducted a substantial percentage from inmates' wages and money sent by family members to contribute toward the cost of incarceration.  Riveland noted his opposition to most of the measures in the bill.  These economy measures were working at the margins with nickels and dimes, he said, while the rising costs were driven largely by the number of people put into the system. (7)  

The past two decades have vindicated Riveland's cautions against politically-driven policies. His insight that prison cells are an expensive method for protecting public safety that should be treated as a "scarce resource", his resistance against privatization, and his understanding that treatment and education and work opportunities for inmates lower recidivism, have been borne out by subsequent experience and research.  (8)

Riveland began as a parole officer in the 1960s and moved on to high level positions in the Wisconsin and Colorado corrections systems, serving as the Executive Director of the Colorado system from 1983-1986.  He was Secretary of Washington Department of Corrections from 1986 to 1997, during the Gardner and Lowry administrations.  In recent years he has served as a corrections consultant, expert witness, author, and trainer.  A 2002 resume lists 16 state prisons, 7 federal prisons, and  3 international prisons that he has toured, evaluated, and/or inspected.  He has advocated for standards-based and humane use of solitary isolation and has authored some of the most widely-cited works on the subject.


Noemie Maxwell
Washington has a history of thoughtful and independent leadership in corrections.  I first saw this in the context of the politicizing of crime that started in the 1970s.  But I recently read the 1978 Barak-Glantz dissertation on solitary confinement at Walla Walla.  The author refers to Garrett Heynes, who directed the Department of Institutions in the 1950s, as the "father of corrections in the state of Washington" (9) and writes that the Washington correctional system achieved national recognition as a well-run progressive system under his leadership.  Do you know this dissertation?

Chase Riveland

This is intriguing to me.  I wonder whether this is the general "culture" in the correctional field nationally -- or would you say that Washington is unusual in this way?

I began in the field in an era in which treatment was the model.  Garett Heynes and the Director of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections that I worked in in the 1960s were friends.  I was shocked when I first came to Washington and saw the state facility in Mason County, (10) how similar it was to Fox Lake, one of the institutions in Wisconsin.  It was built like a college campus.  There were no bars.  The buildings had stone facades.  The living units were spread over a wide territory.  This approach (to facility design), at the time, was found in a few jurisdictions nationally.

The treatment mode fell out of favor because, supposedly, it didn't work.  But at the recent Sentencing Guidelines Commission meetings there have been presentations on programs used here in Washington and across the country showing that the right programs administered well reduce crime significantly.  I've heard policymakers say, basically, 'now we need to communicate this to the public.'  What happened that ideology has entered into this so strongly and that we have such a strong public sentiment against treatment?

In the 1970s, a misinformed researcher concluded that none of the rehabilitative methods worked.  Later analysis showed his research was flawed. But legislators and others who wanted to save money glommed onto it.

Who was the researcher?

The name was Martinson.  This was about 1976. (11)  During the 1980s, nationwide, including in the state of Washington there was another development.  Politicians started putting crime on the top of the political agenda.  This was unique.  You didn't see this before in either the primaries or presidential races.  You wouldn't see this issue in the top 10 national elections this year, either.  But in the 1980s, at every election level, following the Reagan - Dukakis race and the Willie Horton ad, crime became the driver.  It drove the agenda into the 1990s.

In the state of Washington, it was also the case that there was an era in which the institutions were not in control.  If you read the book, Concrete Mama (12) - there was a time when the inmates were running the institutions.   That was a result of an attempt to model corrections after the Danish approach of self-government. Governor Dan Evans sent the then warden of the Walla Walla penitentiary to Denmark.  He returned wanting to try the same approach. That may have worked for the Danish.  But here we have gangs and much greater diversity.

Eventually, the staff had to get permission from the prisoners to go into certain places in the institution.  There was a loss of control.  It literally took putting state troopers in the prisons to re-establish it. There was a similar situation at Monroe.  It was critical at that time to get the institutions under control. (13)

That was the era of prison riots in Washington.  The Barak-Glantz dissertation was completed right before the 1979 Walla Walla riots - and it's a fascinating look at how gangs had so much control at Walla Walla.

There was also a rise, nationally, in the crime rate.  This was the case in Washington, too - though not as ominous as California or some other states.

The combination of all these developments resulted in harsher laws, civil commitment for sex offenders, a bunch of things like that.  The Washington legislature took funds away from recreation and education and we began to charge prisoners for medical care.

That was House Bill 2010.  I saw that you testified on that "with concerns".  And I've read media reports that this was a political turning point.  I hear from family members that they think it's DOC doing this, making people buy things from the prison store at higher rates, garnishing wages and money sent by family members, that kind of thing -- when actually it was a legislative decision. It's a real economic hardship for families who are already living on the edge.

It's no question that it's a hardship.  With 2010 and subsequent, smaller bills there was some great political hay: 'not only are we putting lots of people in prison we're making them work hard to pay for everything possibly can, though if someone is indigent, we give them the basics.'  The Corrections Department did not dream that up.  I spent a lot of time to try to get that bill killed.  

What were the things you did to try to kill the bill?

Formal things, like testifying in hearings. There you have to be more cautious.   Also, rounding up enough resistance and votes.   Frequently, on major bills legislators are not free to vote as they want but need to vote as their caucus wants them to.  This was a very visible bill.  

I've read in numerous sources that the use of supermax (solitary confinement) was very rare until recent times and that it's been increasing significantly.  But Barak-Glantz in his dissertation writes that solitary confinement was the mode, the baseline, for most of the history of prisons.  Is that a contradiction?  Would you say that we've increased, or decreased the use of solitary?

Way back, until the late 1800s, prisoners were kept separated.  People couldn't talk to each other.  In modern times, that has not been the norm.  College campus layouts, open institutions with vocational training and work opportunities became the trend.  Washington was pretty much that way first two years I was here - until they started taking things away.

Solitary was used in the 1970s and 1980s much more sparingly.  In the early 1980s Wisconsin's Governor Tommy Thompson demanded that the state build a supermax. I knew at the time that corrections people didn't feel they needed it.  It was part of this political movement of getting tough on crime.  They built many of these facilities in the rural areas. Some of them immediately ran into legal problems.

I found your 2002 statement prepared as part of your inspections and expert testimony for a Florida lawsuit on the misuse of supermax.  It was difficult to read about the suffering of these people with essentially no human contact and no stimulation for years on end, what you described as the most "austere" conditions you'd ever seen.  No letters or phone calls or visits or books to read or radios. You wrote at the time that Florida corrections wasn't complying with many of the conditions of the court order to provide information and improve conditions.  What happened with that case?  Did the people in solitary ever see their conditions improve?

There were four lawsuits in Florida.  You probably read about the Osterbeck case.  There was an initial settlement.  The state was ordered to reduce the number of people in close management, to reduce the number of institutions operated in that fashion and to provide more training to staff about mental illness. A year and half into the process, the state was not fully complying.  It went back to trial.  Meanwhile the Secretary of Corrections (James Crosby) was caught taking kickbacks and was sentenced to federal prison for 8 years.  A new Secretary, McDonough, came in and there was another settlement.  Some of the bad guys were fired and a new course was set.  

Wow.  What a shame.

Well, this brings up another question for me.  The Seattle PI recently reported (14) that Washington's Department of Corrections is working to help people transition out of solitary confinement and into the mainline prison populations with "step-down" programs.  I've been corresponding with a person who has been in solitary on and off for years. Recently, he was placed in one of these step down programs.  I thought it was a tremendously positive sign. I'm hoping that this is the beginning of a permanent change in policy -- that we won't be keeping people in long term isolation anymore without at least trying to help them avoid it.

But I look at the capital budgets and see that the state is spending millions to build more IMU's (Intensive Management Units, also known as "supermax"). (15)  These are major investments.  I worry that they're going to keep us tied to bad policies.  So when I read the Florida directive -- that the state had to decrease the number of supermax units -- I immediately wondered: how they are going to convert those tiny cells to other uses?  Can we do the same thing in Washington once we find we don't need to put so many people in IMU?

Florida's facilities are designed differently.  Their supermax cells are not the same as ours.  They used the old institutions but they ran them in lockdown 24-7.  They initially operated 7 institutions operated that way.  There were huge numbers of people in close custody as well. Their close custody was not the same as what we have in Washington state, either.  Different jurisdictions handle segregation differently.  In some areas, up to 7-10% of the population is in solitary confinement.  Virginia's Red Onion is a single, large facility with 1,800 units in 24-hour lockdown.      

Washington choose not to build separate intensive management facilities like the Red Onion.  This was my choice.  I chose smaller IMUs housed within larger prisons.  

The reason there are more people in IMUs in Washington is that our prison population has grown, not because we're locking more down a higher percentage.  Some people have to be in a lockdown, sometimes for the protection of that individual.  We have small, co-located IMUs at Monroe, Clallam, and Walla Walla.

[Note: 2-3% of people incarcerated in Washington appear to be in IMU or "supermax" confinement.] (16)

Washington's system is better run than those in many other states.  But I really object to us investing in more IMU cells, especially for people coming from backgrounds of abuse and violence.  It seems inhumane and wasteful to use this as a method of first resort.  It's tremendously expensive and I read that there's no empirical evidence that it increases safety. (17)  I hear from people that they believe it's not always being used according to the standards set by law, that sometimes it's used as punishment instead of security.

If you look at all the people in prison who have been abused, both men and women, abused physically, emotionally, sexually - that's a very high percentage.  The corrections system can't fix this by itself.  Our first responsibility is to assure that the population is as safe as we can make it for the inmates and the staff.  We have to deal with a person's behavior, regardless of the reason for it, from the perspective that it may be a threat to safety and something has to be done to control it

I'm not suggesting bad things don't happen.  Mistakes are made.  A few people may behave poorly. We have over 15,000 inmates and 7,000+ staff.  In general, Washington is blessed to have pretty darned well-trained staff, good leaders, good values.  We have an ethical, moral, values based approach that is legitimate and humane.

[Note: statistics on number of people incarcerated vary depending on the context, as, up until this month, approximately 2,000 inmates have been in rented cells in other states or jurisdictions.]

Do you think the rate of incarceration is too high?

Yes.  I would say it's too high.  

When I first came to Washington, the Sentencing Review Act had resulted in such a reduction of the prison population that there were only 5,600 inmates in prison.  Now we're at 17,000. We were in a position where we would have to close major institutions. So I made the choice to offer "Rent-a-Cell" to other jurisdictions, we took prisoners from other states. I didn't want to lay off staff and have to train new ones later.  As our population grew, we quit that practice. The population grew and grew due to the political push, tough on crime.  It's an endemic thing.  We see it nationally, not only in Washington state.

There are two ways to affect the incarceration rate within a jurisdiction.  One is to tailor the policy and the laws so that fewer go in.  The second way is, once people go in, you reduce recidivism.  Both of these are policy issues. The corrections department has to have the resources available to deal with the second.  

We appear to have taken a step toward reducing recividism with Senate Bill 6157, which appropriated $25 million for "re-entry".

That bill started under Joe Lehman (Secretary of the Department of Corrections from 1998-2005).  He began the initial movement toward that bill.

Am I right that you and Joe Lehman were both active in the Campaign for an Effective Crime Policy?

Yes, I was on the board of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation for a number of years.  Edna was from the Avon family.  She was interested in several things, oceanographic research, corrections, and incarceration.  Recognizing that incarceration rates were too high in many jurisdictions they funded a lot of research projects to reduce that rate.  One was The Campaign for an Effective Crime Policy. The Sentencing Project in DC managed the Campaign.  

Yes, I often refer to Sentencing Project reports and studies.

Joe and I were both on the initial campaign.  There were several of us.  Ronnie Earl (Texas prosecutor known, among other things, for bringing charges against Tom DeLay), was another.  

I had thought that this was a state campaign.

This was a national organization working on mitigating the tough on crime politics that was going on at the time.  The focus was to get good information to people - the media, legislators -- to mitigate the insanity that was going on around incarceration.  

Do you consider the campaign to have been successful?

How do you measure that?  It could have been worse without the campaign.

Those were interesting times.  Mike Quinlan, Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, organized a big conference in Washington DC.  U.S. Attorney General William Barr invited corrections people from around the country.  There were three to four hundred people.  Their message was that people had to get tough on crime.  I was sitting with then Governor of Massachusetts William Weld when he said: "I'm going to make my prisons like a tour through hell."  Al Bronstein, who was at that time the Director of the ACLU's National Prison Project (NPP), and I held a press conference in response.  It was ironic because the NPP had just sued the Massachusetts corrections department.

What was the suit about?

This was a conditions of confinement suit.

I'm a bit "stuck" on that statement of Weld's, how he so easily dismissed an entire field of expert knowledge to veer off into emotional grandstanding.  You followed through with a press conference. But what was your initial reaction to hearing a statement like that, knowing everything you do, to sit there and hear a governor publicly say that?

You shake your head and put your eyes slowly looking to the ground.  But he's a politician.  

I think when you have the leader of a state talk like that, whether or not he believes it, it sets a tone picked up by others.  He's in the position of a role model. The public tone in general is that people in prison are less than people and that torture or bad behavior toward them is ok because they're bad people.  Sentencing someone to prison is the punishment.  There doesn't need to be further punishment in the experience itself.  It's sad.

It seems to me we're at this turning point in public policy.  We know that rehabilitation works.  We're hurting fiscally from 2 decades of policies that don't work so well. Do you see actions that can be taken that can help public opinion support policies that work better?

Changes are happening around the country.  What's pushing it is the fiscal crisis and the cost of incarceration.  Money has been put into the federal re-entry program and the states are moving in the same direction.  In Washington, we're looking at this through the Sentencing Guidelines Commission, looking for ways to shift sentencing policies.

How do you shift those policies to lower the incarceration rate and not result in an increase in crime?

There are two ways to reduce the rate of incarceration.  Either by sentencing fewer people or for shorter periods of time - or in reducing recidivism.  It's ironic that the former governor of New York, Pataki, who is a conservative, has backed a major change in drug laws to reduce how how many are sentenced to prison.  

Drug laws and how we treat the mentally ill have major impacts. Frequently, they are underlying causes for incarceration.  There are often ways to deal with drug users in the community, without incarcerating them.  For other crimes, maybe you simply chop one year off the sentences.  It differs by jurisdiction how much you can accomplish politically.  The Sentencing Guidelines Commission in Washington state has, historically, been a thoughtful group with high credibility.  

Do you have anything to say about the inclusion of lower-level offenses like Robbery 2 and Assault 2 in the 3-Strikes list?

There have been many tries over the years to do thoughtful tweaks to the law.  These have had no relationship to whether they can fly politically.  There are always unintended consequences with anything as complex as criminal law.  What it will take to make fixes in the law will be one of two things.  The first is a public groundswell - this is the public in general and also prosecutors, law enforcement, defenders.  If you push enough buttons there can be progress.  The other thing is if it's can be handled in something that's a much bigger bill.  But very few politicians, whether they're liberal or conservative, will want to go out in front of an issue like this and highlight it, though they may believe reform is necessary.

I was opposed to the 3-strikes law from the beginning.  This was a ballot issue and people appointed by governor can't take a public position on a ballot initiative. I wasn't supposed to talk to the newspapers about it  but when a friend from the PI asked me about it I said, "I'm neither for nor against that stupid law."  She published that.  I said to someone at the time that, if I'd been fined $100 for the quote, I would have sent in $200 and said it again.

The first version in Washington was quite egregious, more like what we see today in California.  But it got watered down.  The person who was the major modifying influence was (former King County Prosecuting Attorney) Norm Maleng.  He was the leader in the prosecutors organization, although in general the prosecutors association supported it.  I was on the Sentencing Guidelines Commission at the time. There are times you just see things are going to happen, like this ballot initiative with heavy financing steamrolling it through.  The best you can do is to try to moderate it.

I want to ask you about the Correctional Mental Health Collaborative (CMHC) at the University of Washington's School of Nursing.  Some of the most important research on who is in supermax and how it affects them comes out of this program in collaboration with the state Department of Corrections.  I believe that the step-down program that my friend is enrolled in developed out of the work of the CMHC.  Was this program established during your tenure?

Yes it was.  The reason this program was established was that, back in the 1990s, we began to see many people entering prison with mental health issues.  We wanted to make the case for more resources.  In terms of initial involvement, we wanted to take a look at our mentally ill population, who we thought might be about 13% of the incarcerated population in the state, look at the population on the ground, identify what data was available.  We had only one special offender center in Monroe and no real solid approach to dealing with the mentally ill.  A number of the University of Washington departments were involved, psychiatry, psychology. Eldon (Vail) was a key person in this. He was the warden at McNeil and was looking into the issue of mentally ill people in the IMU situation.

This is not only an issue of treatment for individuals - but also public safety.  It doesn't seem very helpful for someone to be released from prison onto the streets after spending a long time in isolation.

That was my concern back then, having people released from IMU right into the street, having mentally ill people released into the street.  That's not a good situation.  I wanted to make the case for more resources.  There are times when you see something is wrong but you just don't have the capacity to deal with it.

People involved in the project, psychiatrists, nurses, and researchers from the University of Washington, worked on getting the data so that we could make the case that more resources were needed to deal with the mentally ill and IMU issues.  Sometimes Department of Corrections are the only people sitting before the appropriations committee, asking for money.  They just yawn.  But if the head of the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Nursing from the University of Washington are there with you, you might get more attention.

Was more funding made available because of that?

Over time, yes.  Once we built the mental health unit at McNeil, that had a significant impact on a lot of people.  We had correctional officers trained to deal with mentally ill people.  We had additional tools to deal with poor behavior.  We had treatment specific to the needs.

It's not my place to thank you for establishing the CMHC program and making decisions -- in so many arenas -- that, years down the line have major positive impacts for people and for the state.  That was your job.  But I feel grateful, anyway, that you did those things.  

Going back to issue of architecture.  In our interview, Eldon Vail talked about your role in choosing the design for several of the state prisons.  (18)  Which facilities were built during your term?

It's been a few years, I don't remember it all off hand.  Airway Heights.  The initial Coyote Ridge, which was a 400-bed facility that we're adding 1,200 or 1,500 beds to. Whenever possible, we first added on to minimum security facilities.  I wasn't here when Clallam Bay was designed.  It was originally a close custody facility and I added 400 medium security beds.  There were several hundred beds added at Walla Walla, 400 minimum security beds at Monroe.  We started the facility at Grays Harbor.

Why is it you favor mixed use facilities?

A couple of reasons.  For pragmatic reasons, if you can add on it's easier environmentally and politically. When you spread out different uses across the state, you have the ability to place people closer to their families.

Eldon Vail talked about the building design you chose for medium security facilities that allows more contact between the incarcerated people and the correctional officers.  

The idea is to not wall everyone off.  The correctional staff are on the ground and mix with the people there.  They're not separated by a booth except in higher custody areas.

My understanding is that this is just as safe as facilities that are designed to keep staff and inmates separate, and I've read that it can be safer.

In a medium custody facility, that certainly is true.  It is just as safe.

If you have professionally trained staff, staff who are trained well, there's mutual respect.  Most inmates want a safe environment, a place to grow in. The human interchange personalizes it and allows staff to serve as role models as well as supervising custody.  It allows staff to model appropriate behavior and compassion.

Washington has avoided privatizing its prison system more than many other states.  Did you face this issue?  Was there any push for private prisons during your time.

I faced it pretty regularly, particularly during the last 5 or 6 years.  Bringing in private industry was seen as a way to save money, a solution to the rising cost of corrections.  There were a number of corrections businesses lobbying the state.  I was not enthused about private businesses running high-security operations.  The governors and most of the legislators listened to the problems that I had with it.  And the unions were opposed.  We did have contracts with nonprofit organizations -- and one for-profit company -- for work release programs. These seemed legitimate because they were located in the communities in which they ran the programs.

Ironically, we didn't send any inmates out of state during my time.  Now those people who are out of state are in private facilities.

I'm really glad you took that stand.

I don't know if it's quite as much a battle any more in Washington.  I suppose there still is some effort by the private companies.  But by now it's pretty well known that Washington has chosen to run its own prisons.  When there's a profit motive there's a real question as to the treatment of individuals.  Having said that, I've seen some private facilities that are pretty well run.  But you always run the risk that the profit motive is going to overcome the responsible treatment of individuals.



  1. A search of the author field of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service database using the term "Campaign for an Effective Crime Policy" results in 12 articles.

  2. Cost bringing punishments out of prison. Kathleen Teltsch.  New York Times. 7/19/87.  pg. A1.

  3. Of Fragmentation and Ferment, The Impact of State Sentencing Policies on Incarceration Rates, 1975-2002, Final Report to the National Institute of Justice, Grant No.: NIJ 2002-IJ-CX-0027, August, 2005. Don Stemen, Principal Investigator and Andres Rengifo, Co-Author, Vera Institute of Justice, with James Wilson, Fordham University

  4. House Bill 2214: Studying the Sentencing Reform Act, 2007. Approximately 200 amendments to the SRA are noted in the findings section of this bill.

  5. Within a few years, policymakers on both sides of the political aisle in Washington backed drug courts, which use treatment and alternative sanctions to keep nonviolent people out prison.

    The state legislature established the Washington State Institute for Public Policy in 1983, which has been building a body of research on criminal justice policies since the early 1990s, setting the foundation for evidence-based policies to reduce crime.  In 2005, the state legislature directed WSIPP to determine how to reduce the need for prison construction without a rise in the crime rate.  The resulting study, Evidence-Based Public Policy Options to Reduce Future Prison Construction, Criminal Justice Costs, and Crime Rates, Steve Aos, Marna Miller, Elizabeth Drake, October, 2006, estimated that more effective rehabilitative and re-entry methods we can allow the state to hold down both incarceration and crime rates, saving about $2 billion over the next 20 years. In 2007, the legislature passed Senate Bill 6157, which allocated $25 million to investments helping incarcerated people successfully re-enter society in order to reduce recidivism.

  6. "I'm pleased that (the governor) signed (HB 2010)," said House Corrections Chairwoman Ida Ballasiotes, R-Mercer Island.  "It's a start" in her quest to make prisons more uncomfortable in hopes that fewer inmates will return.
    Lowry signs bill requiring inmates to earn privileges.  Seattle Post Intelligencer.  6/16/95. pg. B9.

  7. State prisons chief battles a storm of 'reform' legislation -- too-high costs cited; riveland says it's 'micromanagement'.  Barbara A. Serrano.  Seattle Times.  2/24/95. pg. A1

  8. For example:  

    These Washington-based findings are in line with research findings nationwide and contribute to a body of practice and evidence-based research supporting more effective criminal justice policies.

  9. Israel Leonard Barak (Glantz), B.A., M.A., Punishment to Protection: Solitary Confinement in the Washington State Penitentiary, 1966-1975.  Dissertation presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in the Graduate School of The Ohio State University, 1978. Page 287.

  10. Washington Corrections Center in Shelton was built between 1962 and 1964 and originally served as a facility for young first-time offenders who were convicted of non-violent crimes needing academic or vocational education.

  11. In his article, Criminology: Is Rehabilitation a Waste of Time? (The Washington Post, 4/23/89), author Jerome Miller begins an evaluation of Martinson's legacy on a gothic note:
    LATE ONE gloomy winter afternoon in 1980, New York sociologist Robert Martinson hurled himself through a ninth-floor window of his Manhattan apartment while his teen-age son looked on. Martinson had become the leading debunker of the idea that society could "rehabilitate" criminals. His melancholy suicide was to be a metaphor for what would follow in American corrections.

    But the present fixation on punishment and deterrence may prove a costly mistake. In fact, there is considerable evidence that rehabilitation which adheres to certain principles can be dramatically successful. And we'd better start learning what those standards are. The currently fashionable notion of more "hard time" for more offenders could bankrupt many state and local budgets while guaranteeing even higher recidivism rates.

    Martinson's skepticism about rehabilitation derived from his role in co-authoring a 1975 survey of 231 studies on offender rehabilitation spanning the previous 30 years. Titled "The Effectiveness of Correctional Treatment," it became the most politically influential criminological study of the past half century.

    Miller goes on to detail how flaws were discovered in Martinson's research. A Rand Corporation and National Academy of Sciences panel questioned Martinson's results early on, pointing out that it was not clear the methods he dismissed as ineffective were ever given a fair trial.

  12. Concrete Mama: Prison Profiles from Walla Walla,  by Ethan Hoffman and John McCoy, University of Missouri Press, 1981.

  13. Senator Ray Moore, in his oral history, recounts that under Republican governor Dan Evans, 1965-1977, Washington lost not only control over the institutions but also national accreditation. (Ray Moore, An Oral History.  Washington State Oral History Program Washington Secretary of State.  1999.)

  14. Prisons shift from solitary confinement, New approach eases inmates into society, Vanessa Ho, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 4/17/08.

  15. Senate Bill 6384, Amended appropriations for 2005-2007 capital budget, lists funding of $39,438,000 for building 100 management and segregation units at Monroe Corrections Center.

    Over the past 3 biennia (2003-2008), state capital budgets detail hundreds of millions spent on "close custody" design, conversion or construction.  For example, HB 1092, 2007-2009, lists $134,487,000 to design the South Close Security Complex at WA State Penitentiary at Walla Walla.  In a phone call to DOC headquarters, I was told that in Department of Corrections information on facilities and population, the "close custody" designation includes several levels of security, including supermax. The information provided in the capital budgets don't seem to indicate which, if any, of the closed custody units are IMUs.

  16. The Facility Report, Offender Characteristics Population Movement and Custody, Budget Resource Management for fiscal year 2008 gives specific population projections for IMU residents for July - December, 2008.  This summary indicates that Washington is projected to have 1.7% of its prison population in isolation in July 2008 and and 2.6% of that population in isolation in December.  Both of these are low percentages compared with other states, though this seems to indicate a projected increase of over 50% in the state's IMU population between July and December of 2008 as 196 IMU cells become available in newly-built IMU facilities at Washington State Penitentiary (Walla Walla) and Washington State Reformatory (Monroe). From data in that summary:

     JULY 2008DEC. 2008
    Total State Prison Pop.17,69517,547
    State IMU Pop.313496
    IMU as % of Total Pop.1.7%2.6%

    In contrast, the 1978 Barak-Glantz dissertation notes that the maximum security population at Walla Walla ranged from 2.68% to 11.53% of the population at that facility between the years of 1966 through 1976. These percentages increased as time went on, primarily due to a rise in the number of inmates in protective custody, which may be accounted for by the increasing chaos in the institution as it neared the "riot" year of 1979.  These statistics may not be comparable as "the hole" in the 1970s in Walla Walla was a different kind of isolation than today's "supermax" isolation.

  17. Conversation with Eldon Vail, Secretary of Washington State Department of Corrections, Noemie Maxwell, Washblog, 5/21/08.

< because Hanoi on his resume somehow instilled in him commander-in-chief ability. | "They seem to think electing better Democrats is the answer." >
Display: Sort:
Display: Sort:
Skims $ Millions
from workers comp to attack Gregoire







Make a new account


Recommended Diaries

Related Links

+ (1)
+ (2)
+ (3)
+ (4)
+ Initiative 601
+ (5)
+ (6)
+ (7)
+ (8)
+ (9)
+ (10)
+ Sentencing Guidelines Commission
+ (11)
+ (12)
+ (13)
+ James Crosby
+ (14)
+ (15)
+ Red Onion
+ (16)
+ (17)
+ Senate Bill 6157
+ Edna McConnell Clark Foundation
+ The Sentencing Project in DC
+ Correction al Mental Health Collaborative
+ (18)
+ National Criminal Justice Reference Service database
+ Of Fragmentation and Ferment, The Impact of State Sentencing Policies on Incarceration Rates, 1975-2002
+ House Bill 2214
+ Evidence-B ased Public Policy Options to Reduce Future Prison Construction, Criminal Justice Costs, and Crime Rates
+ Senate Bill 6157 [2]
+ The Criminal Justice System in Washington State: Incarceration Rates, Taxpayer Costs, Crime Rates, and Prison Economics
+ Evidence-B ased Public Policy Options to Reduce Future Prison Construction, Criminal Justice Costs, and Crime Rates [2]
+ Ray Moore, An Oral History.
+ Prisons shift from solitary confinement, New approach eases inmates into society
+ Senate Bill 6384
+ HB 1092
+ Department of Corrections information on facilities and population
+ Facility Report, Offender Characteristics Population Movement and Custody, Budget Resource Management
+ Supermax Prisons: What We Know, What We Do Not Know, and Where We Are Going
+ Who lives in Super-Maximum Custody? A Washington State Study
+ Confrontin g Confinement, Commission on Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons
+ Assessment of psychosocial impairment in a supermaximum security unit sample
+ Conversati on with Eldon Vail, Secretary of Washington State Department of Corrections
+ More on Social Justice
+ Also by noemie maxwell

Washblog RSS Feeds

Political Contacts

Local Media

Coastal/Grays Harbor
Aberdeen Daily World
Chinook Observer
Montesano Vidette
Pacific County Press
Willapa Harbor Herald
KXRO 1320 AM

Olympic Peninsula
Peninsula Daily News
Bremerton Sun
Bremerton Chronicle
Gig Harbor Gateway
Port Orchard Independent
Port Townsend Leader
North Kitsap Herald
Squim Gazette
Central Kitsap Reporter
Business Examiner
KONP 1450 AM

Sound and Islands
Anacortes American
Bainbridge Review
Voice Of Bainbridge
San Juan Journal
The Islands' Sounder
Whidbey NewsTimes
South Whidbey Record
Stanwood/Camano News
Vashon Beachcomber
Voice Of Vashon
KLKI 1340 AM

North Puget Sound
Bellingham Herald
The Northern Light
Everett Herald
Skagit Valley Herald
Lynden Tribune
The Enterprise
Snohomish County Tribune
Snohomish County Business Journal
The Monroe Monitor
The Edmonds Beacon
KELA 1470 AM
KRKO 1380 AM

Central Puget Sound
King County Journal
Issaquah Press
Mukilteo Beacon
Voice of the Valley
Federal Way Mirror
Bothell/Kenmore Reporter
Kirkland courier
Mercer Island Reporter
Woodinville Weekly

Greater Seattle
Seattle PI
Seattle Times
UW Daily
The Stranger
Seattle Weekly
Capitol Hill Times
Madison Park Times
Seattle Journal of Commerce
NW Asian Weekly
West Seattle Herald
North Seattle Herald-Outlook
South Seattle Star
Magnolia News
Beacon Hill News
KOMO AM 1000
KEXP 90.3 FM
KUOW 94.9 FM
KVI 570 AM

South Puget Sound
The Columbian
Longview Daily News
Nisqually Valley News
Lewis County News
The Reflector
Eatonville Dispatch
Tacoma News Tribune
Tacoma Weekly
Puyallup Herald
Enumclaw Courier-Herald
The Olympian
KAOS 89.3 FM
KOWA FM 106.5
UPN 11

Ellensburg Daily Record
Levenworth Echo
Cle Elum Tribune
Snoqualmie Valley Record
Methow Valley News
Lake Chelan Mirror
Omak chronicle
The Newport Miner

The Spokesman-Review
KREM 2 TV Spokane
KXLY News 4 Spokane
KHQ 6 Spokane
KSPS Spokane
Othello Outlook
Cheney Free Press
Camas PostRecord
The South County sun
White Salmon Enterprise
Palouse Boomerang
Columbia Basin Herald
Grand Coulee Star
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
Yakima Herald-Republic
KIMA 29 Yakima
KAPP TV 35 Yakima
KYVE Yakima
Wenatchee World
Tri-City Herald
TVEW TV 42 Tri-cities
KTNW Richland
KEPR 19 Pasco
Daily Sun News
Prosser Record-Bulletin
KTCR 1340 AM
KWSU Pullman
Moscow-Pullman Daily News