WA DoC: Shorter Socks and Fewer Trashcan Liners: DOC Implements Cost-Saving Ideas from Its Staff

This is taken from the website of the WA State Department of Corrections.
We note this:

“The agency is also re-issuing clothes and underwear issued to offenders.” It used to be policy that family and friends were allowed to buy clothing for the people in prisons. Why was it forbidden? It cost too much to wash the prisoners´ own clothes?

“No more funeral and death-bed visits for offenders in prisons unless the offenders’ families pay for the escort and travel costs.”

So, wait. Families already pay for visits in travel expenses. what does this mean? No more funerals? Can family no longer visit a prisoner who is dying?

“The agency continues to incarcerate more than 16,000 offenders in prisons and supervises more than 19,000 offenders in communities.”

So wait, did any of the 1,500 cost-saving suggestions actually mention incarcerating less people, making sentences less long, introducing effective means to rehabilitate people? Would that not be much more cost-saving?

Wake up!

Press release:

OLYMPIA – The Department of Corrections expects to save $22,000 each year by purchasing shorter socks for offenders. It expects to save $220,000 each year by reducing the number of trashcan liners it purchases by 40 percent. The agency is implementing those cost-saving ideas and others recommended by its employees.
“It doesn’t surprise me that the best cost-saving ideas have come from our staff,” Secretary Eldon Vail said. “The men and women work on the ground level at prisons and field offices are typically better able to see what ideas will work.”

Another cost-saving suggestion was to do away with juice fountains in prisons and provide offenders with juice packets instead. That will save an estimated $120,000 each year. The agency is also re-issuing clothes and underwear issued to offenders.
Due to the state’s declining revenue the Department of Corrections must reduce its across-the-board spending by nearly $53 million between now and June 30, 2011, which is the end of the two-year budget cycle. The agency continues to incarcerate more than 16,000 offenders in prisons and supervises more than 19,000 offenders in communities.

DOC staff members so far have submitted more than 1,500 cost-saving suggestions. One suggestion that was recently implemented was no more funeral and death-bed visits for offenders in prisons unless the offenders’ families pay for the escort and travel costs. That will save an estimated $43,000 each year. The prisons division expects to save money by using reusable bags at offender stores instead of paper ones.

“We’re looking at everything we purchase to figure out if we can do without it,” Vail said. “And the things that we do purchase, we’re figuring out if they can be re-used. That cuts down on our purchasing costs and also reduces landfill waste.”

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