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Per RCW 72.09.770, the Department of Corrections (DOC) shall conduct an Unexpected Fatality Review (UFR) Committee in any case in which the death of an incarcerated individual is unexpected, or any case identified by the Office of the Corrections Ombuds for review.

Upon conclusion of an unexpected fatality review, and within 120 days following the fatality, the DOC shall issue a report on the results of the review unless an extension has been granted by the governor. The DOC shall also develop an associated corrective action plan to implement any recommendations made by the review team in the unexpected fatality review report. The reports and corrective action plans must be posted and maintained on the department's public website within the specified statutory timeframes.

Unexpected Fatality Review Reports (600-SR001) and Corrective Action Plans (600-PL001) are posted on the Department of Corrections Website. 

 

As an independent and impartial public office within the Governor's Office, the Office of the Corrections Ombuds takes a neutral position on the Department of Corrections' requested legislative change to the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 72.09.770. However, there are two specific proposed changes worth highlighting. 

The OCO agrees with: 

  • The DOC's goal of creating a transparent, public, and consensus-based approach to extending the report deadline when the UFR committee agrees it is necessary.

The OCO does not agree with: 

  • The DOC's narrowing of the scope to only focus on total-confinement (prisons), as this proposed change would exclude partial-confinement settings (reentry centers and graduated reentry) and community custody. The OCO questions the logic of changing the definition of "jurisdiction of the department" for this specific RCW. 

 

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