Cost cutting policy puts felons on home confinement - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Cost cutting policy puts felons on home confinement

SPOKANE, Wash. - A new Washington State Department of Corrections policy aimed at cutting costs is causing a controversy among workers within the state.

The policy, which would allow for violent offenders to be placed on home confinement rather than in prison, is part of an effort to save the state $11 million.

Under the policy, felons would equipped with electronic home monitoring equipment comprised of an electronic bracelet that Department of Corrections' staff could monitor.

The Washington Federation of State Employees, which represents DOC officers, is opposed to the plan. A spokesperson for the organization says that due to a lack of monitoring staff, an offender could leave his or her assigned area and no one would know for days, putting the public at risk.

Eldon Vail, Secretary of the Department of Corrections, said the department would take public safety into consideration when making decisions on who can be put in the program.

Offenders who are arrested on suspicion of new felonies or serious crimes will be taken to jail.

The estimated $11 million in savings is just part of the $130 million the department has been asked to save by Governor Gregoire.

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