Inslee issues new orders to reduce prison populations during the COVID-19 outbreak

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Gov. Jay Inslee signed a new proclamation and an accompanying commutation order today in response to COVID-19 in the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) system.

The orders come as a result of an announcement earlier in the week that the state will take additional steps to protect the health of incarcerated individuals by focusing on the early release of certain vulnerable populations, including nonviolent individuals who are due to be released within the coming weeks and months.

"The Department of Corrections has taken significant action at my direction to address the threat of COVID-19 to the incarcerated population," Inslee said. "But it can be difficult to maintain proper physical distancing in our correctional institutions and because of that, it makes sense to release certain individuals who may be at particularly high-risk during this outbreak."

The emergency proclamation gives the governor and DOC greater authority to more quickly and expeditiously release individuals from DOC facilities. The commutation is one of the resulting pieces of that effort.

Read the full proclamation and the full commutation order.

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