OCO: Mattresses, Retaliation, and Monitoring Reports Publication

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Good morning. OCO is releasing several reports today:

  • Mattresses. In August 2019, community members selected mattresses as a systemic issue that they would like OCO to work on. The mattresses reportedly are very thin, with the core foam collapsing within six months to a year, and allegedly caused back and other problems for the incarcerated, particularly the elderly. Over the course of the past year, OCO has conducted research and held a series of meetings with DOC and Correctional Industries' staff to work toward improvement in the quality of the mattresses. DOC and CI meaningfully engaged in this work and the attached report with the DOC response is indicative of the forward progress. OCO is continuing to discuss the issue of DOC allowing a second mattress.


  • Work Release Retaliation. OCO is also releasing an investigation report into an allegation of retaliation at the Eleanor B Chase work release center in Spokane. A female resident reported concerns with a male staff person, and she was subsequently infracted and sent back to prison. Although the infraction was ultimately cleared, she was not returned to the work release center. DOC changed its policy to ensure that any person sent to prison due to an infraction is returned within 48 hours of the not guilty finding. Meanwhile, since February, OCO has been co-chairing a workgroup with DOC to conduct a 360 evaluation of the work release environment and develop recommendations for improvement. We both hope and believe that this workgroup and the resulting recommendations will ensure that a similar incident does not occur in the future.


  • WCC COVID-19 Monitoring Visit. OCO staff conducted a COVID-19 monitoring visit at the Washington Corrections Center at Shelton. Overall, it was a positive visit due to the perceived positive rapport between staff and the incarcerated, despite the stress of the times.


  • Peninsula Work Release Suicide. OCO previously published a report regarding a suicide that occurred at the Peninsula Work Release Center in 2019. DOC has provided a response. We continue to ask and recommend that a greater review occurs related to the 2019 suicides and that actions are taken.

Reports are attached to this email and also available on the OCO website. In addition to the above reports, OCO also held its quarterly public stakeholder meeting last Thursday and provided a preliminary overview of OCO's forthcoming 2020 annual report, including data from the prior fiscal year. 


Additional Information

  • OCO officially moved to an investigative framework for all cases as of September 1, 2020. All cases that were open as of September 1 and all cases opened afterward are considered "investigations" for the purposes of the enabling RCW. 


  • OCO continues to hold weekly statewide phone calls on THURSDAYS from 4 - 5 pm. Call-in information: (360) 407-3831; passcode 821205# 


  • DOC facilities are holding weekly phone calls with their local family councils. We encourage anyone who is interested in receiving up-to-date information to reach out to their local family council co-chair (contact information can be found here). Notes from the calls should be posted on the DOC webpage for local family councils for anyone interested to read.



We hope everyone stays healthy during this time.



Joanna Signature

Joanna Carns, OCO Director