Guiding Principles of the Coalition for an Independent Corrections Ombuds

Coalition for an Independent Corrections Ombuds

Guiding Principles

The Coalition for an Independent Corrections Ombuds is a broad group of stakeholders, including direct service providers, faith based organizations, legal services, social justice organizations, and currently and formerly incarcerated people and their families, who support the creation of a fully independent corrections ombuds office in Washington.

The goal of the Coalition is to promote transparency and accountability in the administration of the state’s correctional system through the creation of this independent oversight entity.

The Coalition recognizes that early investigation and unbiased, objective intervention in issues arising in our correctional system reduces conflict and promotes cooperation and collaborative problem solving, thereby avoiding costly litigation at taxpayer expense.

The Coalition also recognizes that promoting humane conditions and access to programs and services in our correctional system makes Washington safer as inmates return to our communities.

The Coalition further recognizes that a correctional system must properly function if it is to provide a safe and healthy environment for staff and incarcerated people, a core value of our state’s correctional system.

The Coalition commends the American Bar Association (ABA) for identifying the key principles essential to the creation of an effective correctional ombuds office and hereby adopts those principles in its effort to create such an office in Washington [PDF]. A correctional ombuds office that fully adheres to these principles will be independent and located outside of the Department of Corrections. It will be well-resourced and will possess the expertise and authority to monitor prisons and prison programs, respond effectively to grievances and problems, and issue thorough and credible public reports. The ABA principles require that the ombuds employ a collaborative approach, but ensure that the office can take independent, direct action to resolve concerns where warranted.

Members of the Coalition for an Independent Corrections Ombuds Include:

  • Disability Rights Washington
  • Columbia Legal Services
  • Quaker Voice on Washington Public Policy
  • Faith Action Network
  • Legal Voice
  • Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Prison Voice Washington
  • Latino Civic Alliance
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Washington
  • WA Citizens for a DOC Ombuds
  • Legal Voice
  • Civil Survival
  • University Beyond Bars 
  • Statewide Poverty Action Network
  • Post-Prison Education Program
  • Interaction Transition
  • Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle
  • Washington Defender Association

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