Politics & Government

State won’t renew Corrections contract with company criticized by GOP

The Washington State Department of Corrections has decided not to renew a contract with a company that was criticized in the GOP-led investigation into the state’s mistaken early release of prisoners.

DOC intends to finish the work being done by the company, Assessments.com, on a tool that assesses inmates’ risks of reoffending, according to a statement Wednesday by the agency.

By performing the work through DOC’s IT division, the “agency is able to account for more precise timetables” and “have increased accountability … in a way that demonstrates our commitment to being good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” said DOC Secretary Dick Morgan in prepared remarks.

Although the contract, which was to expire June 30, won’t be renewed, DOC plans to continue a maintenance contract with the company for an existing risk-assessment tool, said DOC spokesman Jeremy Barclay.

Assessments.com drew harsh criticism in a report released last month by a pair of Republican state senators investigating a prison sentence calculating error that released some offenders early between 2002 and 2015.

In separate incidents, two offenders have been charged in the deaths of two people, a teenager in Spokane and a woman in Bellevue, while they should have been in prison.

The GOP Senate committee report asserted the company and its work on the risk-assessment project, known as Advance Corrections, could have pulled DOC resources away from fixing the sentence-calculating errors. The Republican investigation, however, didn’t reveal a direct link between the two.

One of the report’s recommendations called for an investigation of the Advance Corrections project, which is used to predict recidivism and provide case management for offenders. The report also recommended investigating the circumstances of how Assessments.com received and kept its contract.

The Republican report came after an investigation by the office of Gov. Jay Inslee concluded that poor advice, ignored emails and communication lapses by several state employees allowed the state to continue releasing prisoners for three years after the problem’s discovery in 2012.

  Comments