Prison Working Conditions
5:39 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Corrections Workers Rally At Statehouse

The union that represents prison workers rallied on the Capitol steps in Olympia Thursday. They’re calling for safer working conditions.

Nearly two years ago, Corrections Officer Jayme Biendl was murdered in a chapel at Monroe Correctional Complex north of Seattle. Corrections officers say while changes have been made, prisons are still inadequately staffed, leaving them vulnerable to attack. Teamsters also want the right to call an arbitrator to mediate labor disputes.

Democratic State Representative Mike Sell from Everett told the crowd he’ll help push that along.

“There will be a bill. I will be the prime sponsor. And we’re gonna move it out of the house and labor committee as fast as we can.”

Republican State Senator Kirk Pearson from Monroe says he’ll introduce a companion bill in the Senate.

The Department of Corrections says it’s made significant changes to improve safety conditions for corrections workers. They say many officers are equipped with pepper spray. Soon frontline staff will pilot body alarms.

There’s also a budget proposal that would add more staff.

Copyright 2013 KUOW