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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Washington Senate Republicans Blame Early Release Mistake On Ex-Corrections Chief, Governor's Office


It’s been five months since Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced that over a 13-year period nearly 3,000 prison inmates were accidentally released early. Wednesday, Washington Senate Republicans issued a 66-page report that places significant blame for the problem not being fixed on former corrections Secretary Bernie Warner.

Senate Republicans also proposed a dozen changes to state law to address issues highlighted in the report. The proposals include: simplifying Washington’s sentencing grid and hiring an independent ombudsman to oversee the Department of Corrections.

An earlier investigation commissioned by Inslee also recommended the creation of an ombudsman position.

Two deaths -- a murder and a vehicular homicide -- have been linked to inmates who were let out early.

The problem was traced to a computer coding error. The Department of Corrections says the problem has now been fixed.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."