The Washington State Department of Corrections unveiled plans to implement a more equitable prison policy for 2023 that one critic says is the equivalent of the inmates “being asked how to run the asylum.”
The PEAR [Pro Equity Anti Racism] plan will prioritize social elements such as “inclusion,” “respect” and “equity” in prisons throughout The Evergreen State, focusing primarily on incarcerated Black, Hispanic and Indigenous peoples.
“The Department is dedicated to doing our part to create a PEAR ecosystem in Washington State. Further, the Department is committed to operating a safe and humane corrections system and partnering with others to transform lives for a better Washington. Achieving our PEAR goals will bring the Department into greater alignment with our Strategic Anchors,” Corrections Department Secretary Cheryl Strange said, according to the plan outline.
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The plan garnered a critique from Washington Examiner contributor Matt Lamb on Wednesday who highlighted the policy outline’s pivot on the subject of sanctions, writing, “The first problem identified by the planning document is the ‘overuse of sanctions’ against minorities… But a later paragraph says not writing enough sanctions could harm racial equity efforts by creating an unsafe environment.”
“What does this mean? When racial minorities are treated leniently for violence or other misbehavior, they will likely commit it more often, and those actions will be targeted, many times, against other minorities,” he added later.
Strange noted that the goal should be to be for prison staff to “seek to be included by marginalized groups in this work” of running the prison. The Examiner’s Lamb opined, “In other words, the inmates are being asked how to run the asylum.”
“The Department of Corrections seeks to eliminate disparities in the way it administers discipline…. and the appeal process of its incarcerated population, regarding Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic men, and women, who are incarcerated within its prison facilities,” the outline reads.
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The policy’s second investment outlined plans to reevaluate the state’s system that the agency claims “over-classifies” minority groups, including women, as more dangerous than they actually are and will focus on “anti-racism and disaggregated data” to help rectify the problem.
The department chalks up disparities to failures to adopt a “race-equity lens” “potentially biased risk assessment tools” and alleged failures to view inmates according to who they are as people.
Fox News Digital reached out to the Washington State Department of Corrections for comment and received this statement from a spokesperson: “DOC is dedicated to doing our part to create a PEAR ecosystem in Washington. We want to make this a great state for everyone to work, live and do business. We are committed to operating a safe and humane corrections system and partnering with others to transform lives for a better Washington.”
The Washington State DOC also suggests people watch this video for more information explaining the policies.
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