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Eye On Olympia

Gregoire to state prisons’ chief: No releasing felons because there’s not enough cell space…

“Outraged” by the recent release of dozens of felons due to a shortage of space, Gov. Chris Gregoire took the rare public step this afternoon of publicly blasting her own corrections secretary, Harold Clarke.

The prisoners who were let out of jail had been arrested again for violating terms of their prison release.

“I am hereby directing that any offender in the state serving custody time as a sanction for violation of the terms of his or her release shall serve the full sanction,” Gregoire wrote to Clarke. “…I will not accept bed space as a reason for conditional release. The Department will find space.”

If that costs more, she said, she’ll make sure that the money will be there.

“I expect that the Department will take immediate action to implement this directive,” she wrote, “and early release of violators will not occur again.”

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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