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Stafford Creek closures moving forward, according to DOC

Closures are coming to Stafford Creek Corrections Center.

In an official document from the Washington State Department of Corrections, it was announced that the closure of units H3 & H4 at the Aberdeen facility will move forward.

According to the letter from Deputy Secretary of Correctional Operations Sean Murphy, the proposed closures at SCCC and other facilities will occur, but they will also add unit closures to the Monroe Correctional Complex and a change to the closure at Larch Corrections Center.

In the letter, it stated that public input has been key to the process.

Murphy said , “We heard more about the very real impacts on our staff, who may have changes to their jobs, including where and how they do their work. This was passionately shared with us during the listening sessions and has helped as we make tough decisions. The message was also clear that every unit closure decision impacts not only those who are in prison, but also their loved ones and those from the community who provide services and supports for them. “

The letter states that for any personnel changes needed, temporary reassignments and redeployments will be implemented as necessary. 

The proposed closures at a number of state institutions was brought forward due to a number of factors, according to officials;

  • The expansion of community-based reentry programs and the State v. Blake court decision.
  • Corrections has seen a 54% decrease in prison admissions from March 2020 to June 2021 compared to the same time frames in 2019 and 2020.
  • Of the 17,000 total prison beds statewide, approximately 4,000 are empty as of July 20, 2021, and that number is expected to grow.
  • All budgets, including the 2021-2023 biennial budget, passed by the Legislature, and signed by Governor Inslee, require the department to reduce prison spending by $80 million over the next two years.
  • With a significant increase in the number of vacant beds, the state must address this unfunded capacity issue now.

DOC states that the department has seen a 54% decrease in prison admissions from March 2020 to June 2021 compared to the same time frames in 2019 and 2020. Of the 17,000 total prison beds statewide, approximately 4,000 are empty as of July 20, 2021, and that number is expected to grow.

In a notice, DOC officials said, “The decrease is partially due to earlier diversions, interventions, and treatments, as well as a strong focus on expanding community-based reentry programs allowing individuals to safely transition back to their home community. Impactful court decisions such as State v. Blake and innovative, less restrictive programs such as graduated reentry (GRE) could further reduce the number of incarcerated individuals in the state’s care and custody in the future.”

They add that all budgets, including the 2021-2023 biennial budget, passed by the Legislature, and signed by the Governor, require the department to reduce prison spending by $80 million over the next two years. 

“With a significant increase in the number of vacant beds, the state must address this unfunded vacant bed issue now.” according to the DOC.

Incarcerated individuals in the closing units may be transferred to other facilities, but will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

DOC adds that there are currently 4,133 vacant beds throughout the Prisons Division. These unit closures are expected to occur by the end of October 2021 and will result in the closure of 1,555 beds.


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