Political correctness comes in many forms. Most of it is exasperating, but sometimes it can be genuinely dangerous.
It’s been widely reported that law enforcement has okayed the release of numerous inmates to prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout America’s prison and jail populations.
In the state of Washington, the local branch of the ACLU, Columbia Legal Services and Disability Rights WA began a letter writing campaign calling for “immediate actions” to free inmates and protect others. KNKX public radio reports that prison populations in the state have been cut by more than half.
Beginning in mid-March, @ACLU_WA, @disrightswa & Columbia Legal Services wrote letters to officials in counties, including Spokane, w/ larger jail populations, calling for "immediate actions" to reduce their population & take additional measures to protect remaining inmates. https://t.co/qT2XxbPSoT
— @columbialegal (@columbialegal) April 27, 2020
Q13 Fox reports that Columbia Legal Services filed a lawsuit calling for the “release of inmates over age 50, inmates with an underlying health issue including pregnancy, or inmates with 18 months or less remaining on their sentence.”
Included in this group is a man by the name of Gary Ridgeway, 71, who was convicted in the 2000s and sentenced to 500 years in prison for the murders of 49 women. According to Wikipedia, this makes him the “second most prolific serial killer in United States history according to confirmed murders.” He is known as the “Green River Killer.” Most of his victims were prostitutes. Others were runaways. All of them were vulnerable.
On November 30, 2001, as Ridgway was leaving the Kenworth truck factory where he worked in Renton, Washington, he was arrested for the murders of four women whose cases were linked to him through DNA evidence. As part of a plea bargain wherein he agreed to disclose the locations of still-missing women, he was spared the death penalty and received a sentence of life imprisonment without parole.
Ridgeway’s inclusion in this group should not even have been a question.
Nick Allen, an attorney for Columbia Legal Services, issued a written statement to Q13 News, which read:
We support healthy and safe communities and our communities don’t stop at the doors of our state prisons. If we’re to respond effectively to this global pandemic we must ensure that everyone is protected from exposure to COVID-19, including the most vulnerable members of our communities, and that includes people who are incarcerated.
We are asking the Court to find that the State has failed to meet its duty to take care of people in its custody. We have asked the Court to appoint a Special Master, a common practice in cases involving prison conditions, who would then clarify who should be released, under what timeline, and then monitor progress.
Nothing in Allen’s statement suggests that the severity of the crime committed should be a factor in the decision to release.
The Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys provided Q13 News a copy of the “Friend of the Court” brief, submitted to the state Supreme Court. Part of the document read, “The Petitioners demand that 2/3 of the prison population be released into the community, a number which includes serial killers and capital murderers.”
Naturally, a group of social justice warriors gathered in support of the lawsuit. They signed a petition to Gov. Jay Inslee which said, “prison facilities exponentially increase an inmate’s risks” to COVID-19.
Ah, the compassionate left!
In the meantime, The Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys “provided Q13 News a copy of the “Friend of the Court” brief, submitted to the state Supreme Court. Part of the document read, “The Petitioners demand that 2/3 of the prison population be released into the community, a number which includes serial killers and capital murderers.”
Last Thursday, the Washington State Supreme Court voted 5-4 to deny the mass release of this group of inmates. In their decision, the justices wrote that those representing the prisoners “failed to show that the Department of Corrections was not properly addressing the risk of COVID-19.”
One vote saved the state from having a serial killer released into the population. A man who was convicted of killing 49 women. Ridgeway actually confessed to killing at least 71. It might have been more, he said, but he just couldn’t recall.
Author: Elizabeth Vaughn