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Where they go

The tough-on-crime, lock-em-up crowd has a lot to explain when it comes to what should be done with convicts after they’re released, as almost all of them eventually will be. Because of the ways the system operates, some geographic places have had to come to grips with that more directly than others. At Pierce County, it’s an issue: The Tacoma News Tribune today runs an editorial about “a state prison system that has made Pierce County a dumping ground for ex-cons for far too long.”

work release

Washington work release centers

Pierce County was, until not long ago, one of the select places around the state where prisoners were released, about a fifth of all prisoners in a county with about a seventh of the state’s population. That’s been amended, but prison activity still weighs heavy on the Tacoma rather than Everett side, since Snohomish County north of Seattle has no work release centers, while Pierce has two. (The News Tribune’s point is that Snohomish is overdue for a work release center, whether it wants one or not. Which apparently it doesn’t.)

Remarked a commenter on the TNT’s web site: “Just take a window survey of who’s leasing office space in or near downtown these days & the DOC could very easily be termed an occupying force.” Look a little closer, and check out the prisoner population alongside . . .

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