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News Spotlight: Clarifying Inaccurate Information About Jeremy Bennett Release

Published June 7, 2022

Recently, you may have seen media coverage stating that the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) accidentally released an incarcerated individual, Jeremy Bennett.

This is not accurate.

DOC’s role in the criminal justice system is to carry out the sentence of the court. DOC establishes jurisdiction for confinement or supervision based on a Judgment and Sentence which is the order from the court. If the Judgment and Sentence is vacated, as in this case, DOC no longer has any authority to confine or supervise an individual on the particular sentence. Since the DOC is not a party to the criminal proceedings, the department relies on written court orders for action. DOC has no authority to change a court order.

DOC has reviewed the actions taken and can confirm that the release was processed in accordance with the law. The department processes over 6,000 releases each year.

DOC will continue to partner with the courts, the Superior Court Judges Association, county prosecutor’s office, Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, public defender associations, Seattle Clemency Project, and local law enforcement to provide critical insight on how accurate drafting of court documents is essential to maintaining public safety.