DOC’s error hurt inmates trying to rebuild their lives

Sending inmates back to prison in the wake of the state Department of Corrections computer glitch contradicts the spirit of granting everyone a “second chance.”

Op-Ed (Washington)

Alex Bergstrom, Rhona Taylor
Seattle Times
March 3, 2016

Tags: Reentry

Organizations mentioned/involved: Columbia Legal Services (Washington State)


Collateral consequences of the criminal justice system leave most people with a smaller chance of success than they had before incarceration, despite having paid their debt to society.

Increasingly severe sentencing guidelines, legal financial obligations and social stigmas restrict people with criminal records from housing, employment, financial stability and family reunification for many years, if not a lifetime. This systemic discrimination is amplified by the racial and socioeconomic prejudices in arrest and sentencing practices.

Anyone successfully navigating these obstacles does so with perseverance and dedication. Rejecting this effort by re-incarcerating will remove contributions from which we all benefit, and hope from those who worked hard to overcome.