This week’s newsletter will have an unfamiliar tone. It reflects my frustration with the unfortunate politicization of our current situation. I have tried hard to be supportive of the governor during this extremely difficult time and, in fact, I think many of the early steps we took as a state were prudent and effective. I believe in supporting the executive branch in difficult times as they make hard decisions and in giving due credit when they get it right. But it is clear to me that the governor has strayed from fighting coronavirus to implementing his ideological agenda. His recent proclamation commuting criminal sentences and compelling “early releases” of inmates into our communities flies in the face of logic and does nothing to make Washington safer from either COVID-19 or potential criminal activity.
The governor is fond of saying, “We’ll go where the science and data takes us”; a sentiment I share. He is clearly ignoring the data now. The Department of Corrections has done an admirable job of controlling COVID-19 in our inmate population. Statewide, there are only 10 inmates who have contracted the disease; none have died. That data suggests that a correctional facility is actually safer than being in the general population. This is nothing more than a “never let a good crisis go to waste” power play and I am deeply disappointed.