Apparently the Washington Department of Corrections mistakenly got a memo from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, instructing certain species of fish be released upon capture. Failing to read the document closely the DOC altered their practices to allow big fish criminals to go free early.
We were in Britain when the story broke. I saw a London tabloid newspaper announcing the error, looked closely and saw it was my home state involved. Wow, little old Washington State out there on the west coast making international news. Boy do we look bad. No, criminals are not an endangered species subject to catch and release regulations.
The DOC was alerted to this a long time ago, and again more recently in 2012 when the family of a victim complained the convict for the crime was let go early. Now that the music has stopped the Governor is having trouble finding a chair to sit down on, hounded instead by the legislative Republicans. Like sharks, they smell election year blood in the water and have begun a political feeding frenzy. They are calling it a “Government Management Failure” which is the polite yet effective way to say “Royal Screw Up”.
Perhaps predictably it appears some of these fellows have committed some pretty serious crimes during the time they should have been in the nick, as the British say. Gosh, who will pay the civil claims for those victims?
Meanwhile the Corrections Secretary was pulled in front of the legislature to testify and blamed the problem on the computers. The response is predictable, best summed up by borrowing a slogan from the NRA; Computers don’t let criminals go early. People let criminals go early.