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PRESS RELEASE: Department of Corrections and Amend at UCSF Announce New Partnership

Released October 21, 2020

Contact Susan Biller, DOC Communications and Daryl Norcott, Amend at UCSF, (415) 650-6004

image with words amend changing correctional culture

Photo Courtesy of Amend

TUMWATER – The Washington State Department of Corrections and Amend at the University of California San Francisco have launched a partnership to continue efforts in achieving further pro-social improvements in the Washington correctional system.

“We are looking forward to our partnership with Amend,” Secretary Sinclair said. “Our commitment to operating safe, humane correctional systems relies on exploring opportunities for continued growth. Amends’s program aligns with our ongoing efforts to increase Diversity, Equity and Inclusion through our new agency values, so we can enhance our culture and improve community outcomes.”

The Department of Corrections strives to improve public safety by positively changing lives. The Department is committed to partnering with other organizations to transform lives while operating a safe and humane corrections system. Amend at UCSF is an initiative dedicated to transforming correctional culture to improve the health of people living and working in America’s prisons.

Together the entities have initiated a partnership to bring a health-focused approach to providing correctional staff with additional tools and resources to better prepare incarcerated individuals to become better neighbors when they return to society.

Throughout the fall of 2020, correctional leaders of the Washington State Department of Corrections, elected officials and community stakeholders will participate in a preliminary training program introducing public health-oriented correctional principles such as dynamic security and normalization. The goal is to develop homegrown plans of action that will bolster safe practices within the state’s facilities and increase humanizing interactions between all individuals.

In coordination with Norwegian Correctional Services, Amend at UCSF has developed its program as a means of implementing the public health focused Norwegian principles of normalization, progression and dynamic security in correctional systems across the United States. Amend trainers meet with key stakeholders, identify challenges and opportunities, and facilitate structural change specifically tailored to the needs of the particular environment.

“At Amend, we recognize that US prisons have had a devastating impact on the physical and mental health of residents and staff alike,” said Dr. Brie Williams, Founding Director of Amend. “This initiative seeks to improve public health by supporting policy and correctional leaders to rethink the purpose of prison, to help correctional staff demand more from themselves and their profession, and to guide staff in helping people who are incarcerated reconstruct their lives for the better.”

This launch represents an initial step in a joint effort to augment Washington’s ongoing innovation and correctional leadership. Amend brings training and technical assistance to the Department to support the growth of healthier environments for staff in their day-to-day work and for individuals as they prepare to return to their loved ones and reenter society.

The Washington Department of Corrections is the primary state agency responsible for the establishment of a comprehensive system of corrections for convicted law violators within the state of Washington. The Department’s primary mission to improve public safety by positively changing lives through emphasizing personal responsibility and accountability and discouraging recidivism. The Department offers opportunities for self-improvement by providing individual skills and abilities for growth and expansion to those in the custody of the Department.

Founded in October 2019 Amend at UCSF is a health-focused correctional culture change program led by experts in medicine (geriatrics, infectious diseases, family medicine), public health, and correctional health and policy. Amend at UCSF works with U.S. correctional departments to promote the health and wellbeing of people who live and work in U.S. jails and prisons.