The legislative intent behind OCO, as set forth in RCW 43.06C.005, is to assist in strengthening DOC's practices and procedures to lessen the likelihood of adverse actions happening to the health, safety, welfare, and rehabilitation of incarcerated individuals.
Early on, OCO recognized that there was a greater need for external stakeholder input into DOC policies. OCO encouraged DOC to send out notifications when DOC policies were up for review and to create a process for external stakeholders - including OCO - to give feedback. DOC started sending out regular notices for a two week stakeholder input review period for all policies prior to finalization.
In response, OCO created a Policy Advisor role to regularly respond and coordinate OCO input into DOC policies. Our hope is that if we can assist in the creation of positive policy reform on the front end, it will ultimately improve conditions for incarcerated individuals and reduce the need for the longer investigation and systemic policy review reports that comprise the majority of OCO's report on the backend.
All interested stakeholders can review DOC's draft policy revisions here and submit comments to DOC. Draft policies are typically posted Friday afternoons and comment periods close two weeks after that. At this time, there is no easy way for incarcerated individuals to submit comments as the process is online, but OCO strongly encourages DOC to develop a process for collecting and considering feedback from the incarcerated population.
The following are OCO's submitted comments on DOC policies: