Topic: Department of Corrections
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September 25, 2013 at 3:48 PM
Seattle police have determined that a suspicious package found at a state Department of Corrections office in South Seattle is not dangerous.
Arson and Bomb Squad detectives were dispatched to the Seattle Community Justice Center, 1550 Fourth Ave. S., after the package was discovered, said police spokeswoman Renee Witt. Department of Corrections (DOC) staff and offenders were evacuated just before 3 p.m., she added.
Chad Lewis, DOC spokesman, said the package was sent to the office by a former offender. He said the building was cleared at 3:40 p.m. and ruled safe.
Witt could not be reached for additional information about the bomb scare.
The Community Justice Center is DOC’s biggest field office in Seattle. It is where offenders go to meet with their comunity corrections officers.
July 9, 2013 at 11:27 AM
An arbitrator has overturned the firings of three state prison officers and the demotion of a sergeant stemming from the slaying of corrections officer Jayme Biendl at the Monroe Reformatory in 2011.
In his July 7 ruling, arbitrator Michael E. Cavanaugh found that the state Department of Corrections (DOC) only had just cause to issue written reprimands to three of the employees.
Cavanaugh ordered that the employees be reinstated to their original jobs and be paid lost wages and benefits.
Biendl, 34, the DOC officer of the year in 2008, was not found by fellow officers for nearly two hours after being strangled in the prison chapel on Jan. 29, 2011, with amplifier cord. Her killer, Byron Scherf, who was a lifer at Monroe, was convicted of aggravated first-degree murder and sentenced to death May 15.
The DOC concluded that two of the fired officers lied to police, and a third was away from his post outside the chapel. The sergeant was demoted for lack of supervision.
The four were represented by Teamsters Local Union 117 in their challenge of their discipline.
“The arbitrator’s ruling clearly demonstrates that the DOC imposed unfair discipline on its employees in the wake of this terrible tragedy,” said Tracey A. Thompson, secretary-treasurer of the union, in a written statement.
The Department of Corrections today issued the following statement:
“We are reviewing the arbitrator’s decision and will determine what actions to take. We took disciplinary action because of the serious nature of the staff members’ actions – including falsifying documents and lying to police investigators – which does not accurately represent the professionalism of our staff. We can only be an effective agency if we hold ourselves accountable for our actions, which we did in this case.
“We carefully reviewed the actions of staff members at every level of the agency and asked the National Institute of Corrections to conduct a security review of operations at Monroe Correctional Complex. While the National Institute determined that Monroe Correctional Complex is not unique in overcoming complacency in a work environment where the work is inherently repetitive, it does not excuse inappropriate behavior by our staff.
“We have taken every action recommended by the National Institute of Corrections as well as more than one thousand recommendations we received from staff members who work on the front lines. We will continue to build on our success and will continue to hold ourselves accountable for our actions because that is how we earn the public’s trust.”
The Seattle Times is studying Cavanaugh’s 54-page ruling for details on his decision.
June 27, 2013 at 7:13 PM
King County has agreed to pay $3 million to a man who was severely injured when he was shot by King County sheriff’s deputies and officers with the Department of Corrections.
Dustin Theoharis then 29, was unarmed and in bed Feb. 11, 2012, when he was shot 16 timesby officers who were looking for another resident of the Auburn-area home, a man sought in connection with a Department of Corrections (DOC) probation violation, according to court documents.
Theoharis, then 29, was not a suspect, did not display a weapon and did not have access to a weapon when officers woke him, his attorneys said in a statement announcing the settlement on Thursday.
Officers entered his residence without permission (and without knocking on his door), as he slept in his bed,” the statement said. “They went into his room with their guns drawn.” (more…)
March 11, 2013 at 2:29 PM
King County Sheriff John Urquhart at a news conference today reiterated the threat his investigators believe is posed to police and the public by the suspect in a double-homicide in Renton over the weekend.
Urquhart said there is ample evidence that Michael Chad Boysen is attempting to arm himself and poses a significant threat.
Boysen is accused of killing his grandparents after his family hosted a party to welcome him home from prison on Friday night. The 26-year-old man was released from prison on Friday.
Urquhart said Boysen threatened to kill family members, law enforcement officers, corrections officers and citizens prior to his prison release.
“I cannot stress enough how dangerous this guy is,” Urquhart said at the news conference.
He said Boysen, a six-time convicted felon, is believed to be actively seeking firearms.
“We want to make sure nobody sells him a weapon,” he said.
Boysen’s grandparents, 82 and 80, were found slain in their home on Saturday. (more…)
December 5, 2012 at 9:12 AM
Isaac Zamora, the Skagit County man who killed six people, including a sheriff’s deputy and a friend in 2008, was transferred to the Department of Corrections just after 8 a.m. today after he was deemed too dangerous for staff at the state mental hospital.
According to a Department of Social and Health Services’ news release sent this morning, the patient transferred to Monroe presented “an unreasonable safety risk in a state hospital setting.”
DSHS did not identify the patient, but the Department of Corrections identified him as Zamora.
Zamora has been “well behaved and compliant” since arriving at the Special Offender Unit at the Monroe Correctional Complex, said Scott Frakes, Deputy Director of Prisons. Zamora has been assigned to an ultra-restrictive cell area while staff at the prison mental health unit evaluate him, Frakes added.
“As soon as we can determine the safest housing setting for him, the least restrictive, that’s where we want to move him to,” Frakes said. “The goal is to provide adequate mental health treatment and ensure adequate staff safety.”
Zamora’s case marks the first time the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) has used a new state law allowing them to transfer a patient found not guilty by reason of insanity to the Department of Corrections (DOC) because of safety concerns.
“In order to protect the safety of staff, patients and the public, I had no choice but to ask DOC Secretary Bernie Warner to temporarily house this (not guilty by reason of insanity) patient as a boarder in one of the secure Department of Corrections facilities,” DSHS Secretary Robin Arnold-Williams said in a statement.
Since Zamora remains in the legal custody of DSHS, there is a memorandum of understanding between the two agencies. Zamora will be jointly reviewed by both departments every 90 days, according to DSHS.
On Sept. 2, 2008, Zamora broke into a neighbor’s house and stole a shotgun and a rifle.
He then went to the home of his neighbor and friend, Chester Rose, and killed him. He then fatally shot Skagit County sheriff’s Deputy Anne Jackson.
Down the street, he killed carpenters David Radcliffe and Greg Gillum, who had been working on another neighbor’s home, and stole their truck.
He next killed Julie Binschus and wounded her husband at their home. He fled in the stolen pickup toward Interstate 5, where he fired upon several people, killing motorist LeRoy Lange and injuring a State Patrol trooper before surrendering in Mount Vernon.
He would later tell a Skagit County judge, “I kill for God.”
September 21, 2012 at 12:22 PM
The families of two Lakewood police officers who were killed by Maurice Clemmons in November 2009 have each reached settlements with the state Department of Corrections.
The families of Sgt. Mark Renninger and Officer Gregory Richards will each receive a $5 million payout, said Jack Connelly, who heads Connelly Law Offices in Tacoma.
On Nov. 29, 2009, Clemmons fatally shot Renninger and Richards, as well as officers Ronald Owens and Tina Griswold as they sat in a coffee shop in Parkland. In an exchange of gunfire, Clemmons was wounded by Richards.
Clemmons was killed two days later by a Seattle police officer.
Attorney Lincoln Beauregard, who works at Connelly’s firm, said that he and Connelly appeared before Pierce County Superior Court Judge Frank Cuthbertson this morning, and the judge finalized the settlements.
“There’s been a long dialogue with the Department of Corrections. A settlement of … this size and this nature doesn’t happen without the court giving its OK. There’s been a resolution of these claims,” Beauregard said.
In their claims, the families said that DOC mishandled Clemmons case, including wrongly ignoring an Arkansas arrest warrant issued in October 2009 a few weeks before the shootings. Clemmons had served time in prison in Arkansas before moving to Washington.
“DOC was supposed to tell the Pierce County Jail they were supposed to hold Clemmons. They neglected to do it,” Beauregard said.
Clemmons, after suffering an apparent psychotic break, was arrested and jailed in the summer of 2009 on charges of assaulting police officers and child rape. As required by the Interstate Compact on Adult Offender Supervision, which covers the state-to-state transfer of probation cases, Arkansas sent DOC a pair of warrants to hold Clemmons in jail pending trial. Arkansas withdrew the first warrant, but issued a second in October 2009.
Although Clemmons’ community corrections officer noted the warrant — copying it verbatim into DOC’s internal computer system — he did not alert the Pierce County Jail or prosecutors after Clemmons’ arrest in the summer of 2009.
According to Connelly’s office, a settlement with Griswold’s family has already been reached.
July 15, 2012 at 4:15 PM
A man who was found dead in Hoquiam early Saturday was a corrections officer at a Shelton Prison.
Jonathon Favro, 20, had worked at the Washington Corrections Center since February. His most recent post was working in the inmate visitation room, said Chad Lewis, spokesman for the Department of Corrections.
A 16-year-old suspect has been arrested for allegedly killing Favro during a fight at an apartment complex, said Hoquiam police Chief Jeff Myers.
The investigation began early Saturday when a police officer came upon a white car that had crashed into a rock embankment. The car was empty, but the officer saw blood on the driver’s door and a large knife in the roadway, according to Hoquiam police.
As officers investigated, police received a call from a mother worried that her son was “going to do something terrible.” The boy lived near the crash scene, and police say they interviewed the teenager and that he said he had stabbed a man during an altercation in an apartment complex and that the man had driven off in a white car, police said.
A few moments later officers found a male down on the ground in a yard off of an alley about two blocks away. Medics were called. The coroner pronounced Favro dead at the scene, Myers said.
Lewis said that he could not comment on the Hoquiam police investigation. Hoquiam police could not be reached for comment.
Department of Corrections counselors were on site at the Shelton prison today to help staff who knew Favro.
January 29, 2012 at 9:46 AM
Weather: Expect showers and temps in the low 50s today, followed by showers or clouds the rest of the week. The details.
Traffic: Just in case you somehow managed not to know this: the I-5 on-ramps at Mercer will remain closed until about 7 p.m. today, with Fairview Avenue North also remaining closed until about 7 between Republican and Valley streets. On Monday, Mercer Street drivers heading toward I-5 will shift onto a new roadway (the westbound lanes of the future two-way Mercer Street). For a broader look at traffic in the area, the map and cams.
Remembering a slain corrections officer: The state’s Department of Corrections is remembering slain officer Jayme Biendl on the anniversary of her death. Biendl was strangled by inmate Byron Scherf in the chapel of the correctional complex in Monroe on Jan. 29, 2011. Corrections staff are taking part in a 5-K run, a candlelight vigil and a statewide moment of silence today to remember her, according to The Associated Press. Since the slaying, the prison says it has increased training, changed staffing and improved how inmates are classified. Scherf, who was already serving a life sentence, now faces a charge of aggravated first-degree murder that could bring the death penalty.
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The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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