OLYMPIA - The Department of Corrections will receive nearly $185 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to support public safety programs in Washington and protect thousands of jobs.
"We are in the process of reconciling our program operations with the projected state budget deficit that was brought about by the current economic recession," said DOC Secretary Eldon Vail. "These funds will help to lessen the severity of the service delivery and workforce reductions we have to make to manage the agency within our appropriated budget."
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DOC will receive more than $182 million from the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund which Congress designed to prevent reductions in critical government services. The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund money will help pay for custody staff positions in prisons.
"As promised, the Obama Administration has delivered for Washington State," Governor Chris Gregoire said. "This federal funding is doing exactly what the Obama Administration requires it to do - it's protecting our communities, supports critical rehabilitation programs and saves jobs."
An additional award of nearly $2 million is a Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) from the U.S. Department of Justice. The JAG will pay for prison positions responsible for investigating and monitoring gang activity, collaborating with law enforcement on gang-threat mitigation, and advising the agency on how to deal with gang issues. A portion of the money will pay for custody officer positions in prisons that have gang activity.
The JAG will also fund community-based and prison-based inpatient and outpatient chemical dependency treatment programs, including the Therapeutic Community program at Airway Heights Corrections Center located near Spokane.
DOC will receive the funds between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010.