Prison Life - Returning to the community
At approximately six months to Earned Release Date (ERD), an inmate creates an Offender Release Plan (ORP) with the assistance of their classification counselor. The plan includes the proposed residence and lists all people who already reside in that home. It also outlines available services in the area so that the releasing person can complete any treatment required by their sentencing documents.
The plan will be investigated by a Community Corrections Officer from the local field office. Not all plans are automatically approved. Several factors are considered to ensure that the proposed plan does not place the inmate at risk to reoffend, there are no victim concerns and the inmate has access to services and resources.
County of Conviction
Washington state legislation requires inmates being released from DOC facilities to return to their county of first conviction; this includes felony-level juvenile and adult convictions. If the original county of conviction provides limited support, the inmate may request a waiver for an exception to this rule. The exception is requested by their Classification Counselor and approved or rejected by the facility Superintendent. It must also be approved by the Field Administrator where the person intends to live.
Housing Voucher Program
The DOC Earned Release Date Housing Voucher Program was created to allow inmates who, lacking only an approved address, would be held past their Earned Release Date (ERD). Releasing inmates at or close to their ERD saves the Department and tax payers money.
Inmates become eligible for this program after they have reached their ERD. Exceptions to this rule may apply to inmates who are disabled or ill; they may be allowed access to funds 30 days prior to their ERD. Inmates who lack sufficient funds and resources to secure a release address usually qualify. Funding will be for up to the first three months following release and is limited to $500 per month. Each inmate is encouraged to contact their Classification Counselor for more information. Housing funded by the voucher program still requires investigation and approval from a local Community Corrections Officer.
Family Services Role
The Family Services Unit is here to assist families with questions they may have regarding this important process. For further information, contact the specialist closest to your location.