Bi-Polar Washington State Dept of Corrections Laws

I recently made a records request into the true number of sex offenders who were being “ID’d Booked & Released” I wanted to know how many sexual predators had simply been fingerprinted and let go to prey on our community.

This is the response I got…

— Please respond above this line —

Date: 02/01/2016

This email acknowledges receipt of your request, submitted to and received by Snohomish County on 2/1/2016 9:41:00 AM.

Specifically you requested:

Pursuant to RCW 42.561.) I would like the name of the jail administrator2.) I would like the names, & charges (for probable cause AND actual charges) for all people Id’d Booked & Released for the dates of January 28th 2016 back to June 1st, 2015.

The Jail Records Act (RCW 70.48.100) governs the release of inmate records and directs what information the jail may make available to the public.
Inmate records are confidential and may only be provided directly to the inmate, to a third-party with a signed release from the inmate, or by a court order.  For more information about obtaining inmate information please visit http://www.snohomishcountywa.gov/3310/Requesting-Jail-Records or contact SCR-RecordsRequests@snoco.org.

You may also send a fax request to:   425-339-2244  or mail a written request to:

Snohomish County Corrections
Attn:  Records Requests
3000 Rockefeller Ave., M/S 509
Everett, WA 98201

Thank you.

Public Disclosure Unit

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office

NOTICE:  All emails, and attachments, sent to and from Snohomish County are public records and may be subject to disclosure pursuant to the Public Records Act (RCW 42.56)

 

I thought they were being sarcastic until I looked up the actual law

 

RCW 70.48.100

Jail register, open to the public—Records confidential—Exception.

(1) A department of corrections or chief law enforcement officer responsible for the operation of a jail shall maintain a jail register, open to the public, into which shall be entered in a timely basis:
(a) The name of each person confined in the jail with the hour, date and cause of the confinement; and
(b) The hour, date and manner of each person’s discharge.
(2) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section the records of a person confined in jail shall be held in confidence and shall be made available only to criminal justice agencies as defined in RCW 43.43.705; or
(a) For use in inspections made pursuant to *RCW 70.48.070;
(b) In jail certification proceedings;
(c) For use in court proceedings upon the written order of the court in which the proceedings are conducted;
(d) To the Washington association of sheriffs and police chiefs;
(e) To the Washington institute for public policy, research and data analysis division of the department of social and health services, higher education institutions of Washington state, Washington state health care authority, state auditor’s office, caseload forecast council, office of financial management, or the successor entities of these organizations, for the purpose of research in the public interest. Data disclosed for research purposes must comply with relevant state and federal statutes; or
(f) Upon the written permission of the person.
(3)(a) Law enforcement may use booking photographs of a person arrested or confined in a local or state penal institution to assist them in conducting investigations of crimes.
(b) Photographs and information concerning a person convicted of a sex offense as defined in RCW 9.94A.030 may be disseminated as provided in RCW 4.24.550, 9A.44.130, 9A.44.140, 10.01.200, 43.43.540, 43.43.745, 46.20.187, 70.48.470, 72.09.330, and **section 401, chapter 3, Laws of 1990.

So they are “required” to maintain a booking register but they can not release the inmates information?

Yet the state of Washington maintains a public database that shows everyone’s records or charges

Washington Courts - Search Case Records 2016-02-02 09-57-55

At first glance the law makes absolutely no good sense but after some thought it becomes crystal clear:

They have to list anyone who has been arrested (and a lot of folks in Snohomish County who have been arrested are never listed) and the court records are public record:

If they screw up and release someone on accident or too early, or an inmate dies in or out of custody (as in if they had a medical emergency and had to be transferred to a hospital and die there) they don’t have to release the records detailing their own failings to the public and they can hide behind these bi-polar laws like they have done with the many deaths at the jail.

Taking lessons from their big brothers at the Department of Corrections?

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Copyright 2016 Snohomish County Reporter
  • elizabeth

    (e) To the Washington institute for public policy, research and data analysis division of the department of social and health services, higher education institutions of Washington state, Washington state health care authority, state auditor’s office, caseload forecast council, office of financial management, or the successor entities of these organizations, for the purpose of research in the public interest.
    So we get someone in one of these positions to help with some “research”

    • Brandia

      They have no incentive to go against the grain, they are all state agencies.

      • CB

        The answer is a grass roots movement demanding public records reform to IMPROVE access to the public! Demand new law that requires ALL PUBLIC RECORDS uploaded to a publicly searchable data base DAILY. Make it illegal for any government to track in anyway, WHO is searching the database, and illegal to track WHAT is being searched. The government has no need to track that.

        The current process puts citizens at risk as they request records because they are identified, harassed, defamed, and otherwise retaliated against.

        • Brandia

          That is the point that most of these folks making the huge records request are trying to make: If they didn’t hide them, there would be no huge requests. I have terabytes of info but I don’t know how to upload it anywhere to make it publicly accessible and the county makes their PDF’s in image format instead of readable so a lot of times I get people’s personal, health and mental health records so I’d have to go through everything again to make sure that is not included. They used the image so that (in the Reardon days) that they could say they did a reasonable search and the “good stuff” wouldn’t come up.

          • elizabeth

            I agree with CB, it should be a database online with access similar to that of the daily jail records. If it’s public records then if should be publicly accessible. Like a digital library. I would not mind paying the tax to the county to upgrade and streamline services if in fact it was about accessibility and they had nothing to hide in allowing that accessibly. The article in the herald mentioned the county spent ” 17,000 to rebuild an old server to store all the responsive documents ” really? What kinds of backwards ass technology are we using? The infuriating part is the quote of roughly 5 million it would cost to pay the staff to work on this particular records request. 5 million dollars? Wow. You would think at a pay rate like that they would hardly be complaining about filling records requests, hell I’ll come help out for a piece of five million. Or better yet, let’s pay the staff to do their job, update the archaic computers and get a system online so people can get the records themselves and then the county can go about their golf sessions and lunch excursions on our dime like usual.

          • Brandia

            Well then we’d be able to see all of the illegal activities that are going on and they can’t have the public knowing all of that.

          • CB

            Can you begin a public records “database” on your site? Upload what you have for the public to peruse?

          • CB

            I would like to see a database that one can search by national, state, and local records. Until then, it would be nice to have just a local database for Snohomish County records that the public can contribute to by uploading the records they have.

          • Brandia

            I would but I can’t upload anything over 2MB on my site here. I don’t have the technical knowledge to do it. I also don’t have the extra money to do it. If I could find someone with the money time and skills to do it I would gladly hand most of it over. The only problem with that is that I have some horrid pictures and video clips, releasing those would do nothing but hurt an innocent spouse and their children, even if they don’t care what they do to their families I do. I’d also have to go through some of it to strip the metadata to protect my sources & finally some of it I have to hold back for my own and other upcoming court cases. I don’t want to give any of these county and city folks the slightest clue what I have on some of them.

        • Brandia

          We are working on a couple of initiatives to address that and 4 other problems. It’s going to be a hard road but I think we can do it

  • elizabeth

    They are trying to shut down all the public records access …have you seen today’s paper ? Front page …blaming gold bars bankruptcy on public records requests…idiots. All of them.

    • Brandia

      I’ve gotten a bunch of emails and phone calls about that story but honestly I can even stand to go read it, it’s just going to make my head hurt and upset me. I don’t understand how any newspaper can take the side of govt when they are violating the public’s rights.

  • CB

    The records maintained about the person in the jail are confidential. Records might include medical treatment, kites, discipline, etc.

    You should still be able to see WHO was booked, WHEN they were booked, WHY they were booked, and HOW they were discharged. So, if the county is only supplying current information, the question that needs to be asked is if they are violating the PRA by not providing archived information of persons booked…and released.

    • Brandia

      Well… behold the power of getting the right person:

      To SnoCo Reporter Copy SCR-Records Requests — Dave J Somers

      Dear Brandia:

      This is to acknowledge your email request below for information and inmate jail records. Your request is being filled pursuant to RCW 70.48.100.

      Corrections Bureau Chief Anthony Aston is responsible for the day to day administration of the Snohomish County Jail; he was appointed to the position by Sheriff Ty Trenary in February 2015.

      We have located records responsive to your request for the names and charges of everyone booked and released from the Snohomish County Jail between June 1, 2015 and January 28, 2016. We are able to make these records available to you on CD for $1.50, plus $1.42 postage if you would like the CD mailed (for a total cost of $2.92). Unfortunately we are not able to make this information available in PDF as the bulk of the information is in HTML format which we cannot convert to PDF. Per county policy, we are also not able to forward this information to you using Dropbox or any other external file-hosting service.

      Payment
      must be received before we can provide you with the records you’ve requested. Payment may be made in cash, money order or a cashier’s check made payable to “Snohomish County Corrections” or “SCC.” We do not accept personal checks. Payment may also be made at our inmate account window between the hours of 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., seven days a week at the main jail facility at 3025 Oakes Avenue in Everett. Ifyou prefer, you may also mail your payment to:

      Snohomish County Corrections
      Attention: Records Requests
      3000 Rockefeller Ave, M/S 509
      Everett, WA 98201

      Once we have received payment, we either mail the CD to you or arrange for a time when you can pick them up. If we do not receive payment from you by March 7, 2016, we will assume you no longer want the records and close out your request.

      Beth Taylor
      Administrative Coordinator
      Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Bureau

    • Brandia

      Also I just wanted to add that you are free to add any stories you have information on. We are a community paper and the whole point is for others to get involved to get the truth out. I have over 140K documents I am trying to work on inregards to one of our Commissioners along with about 17 other stories I am trying to get done and generally it is just me (or my opinion) most of the time. If you don’t want your name mentioned we can just make it a “guest commentary. I’m going to start a letters to the editor here pretty soon too.

  • CB

    NB: RCW 70.48.100 (1)(a) and (b) does NOT restrict this open register to current inmates or inmates released within so many hours. It does not limit the register. The way I read it, inmates arrested 5 days, 5 months, 5 years, or 15 years ago should be in the register open to the public.

    • Brandia

      That is how I understood it, and they are still denying me the records so unless I take them to court for them they will get to withhold the records. They just don’t want the public to know how many sex offenders they are just letting run loose in this county.