Washington Department of Corrections

Flickr Photo/Asbestos Testing (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The State Department of Corrections has shut down a decades-old program staffed by inmates to remove asbestos from prison facilities.

The Department of Labor and Industries originally fined the DOC $141,000 after determining that inmate workers were exposed to asbestos dust, but the penalty was reduced to $70,500 in a settlement.

Flickr Photo/Washington State Library

Ross Reynolds speaks with Jane Parnell, superintendent of the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor, about the DOC's new approach for female prisoners.

KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

For prison’s toughest inmates, the hardest yoga position is simply closing their eyes.

That’s because these men, housed at Monroe Correctional Complex north of Seattle, have been in solitary confinement, unable to communicate with each other. Until recently, they spent 23 hours a day alone in a cell, without books, without TV, without anyone to talk to. 

Phone calls made by inmates at Washington correctional institutions are expensive. That cost goes up if they’re calling out of state. A new ruling today  by the Federal Communications Commission will limit just how much an inmate will have to pay to connect with people on the outside.

The fight to lower inmate calling costs has gone on for more than a decade. 

Washington State Department of Corrections

An arbitrator has ordered the state Department of Corrections to reinstate three staff members who were fired after Officer Jayme Biendl was murdered at Monroe Correctional Complex two years ago.

Biendl was strangled inside the prison's chapel by inmate Byron Sherf, who was serving time for rape.

After the investigation, three corrections officers were fired. One was demoted. The DOC accused them of misconduct, dereliction of duty and intentionally misleading investigators.

The union filed a grievance on their behalf.

A state ethics board has fined the former state Department of Corrections communications director for violations. The board determined that Belinda Stewart used state time and resources to run corrections oriented nonprofits.

Michael Boe
Courtesy/Karen Boe

Runners in a 5K race will wind through the grounds of the Monroe Correctional Complex on Sunday to remember Corrections Officer Jayme Biendl. Tuesday will mark the two years since Biendl was found strangled in the chapel at the prison.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend 2009. Maurice Clemmons, an Arkansas felon living in Washington, walks into a coffee shop and guns down four Lakewood police officers. Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesman Ed Troyer described the scene as "more of an execution.”