Corrections officers aim to teach criminals to comply

by: David Ham Updated:

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - It has been a year since the Washington Department of Corrections implemented its statewide Swift and Certain program for criminals on supervision.

"So if an offender violates, to being late to a meeting with a community corrections officer, to using drugs, alcohol, or any violations, and they get a swift and certain response for the first violation of one to three days for the first five violation processes," said corrections officer Stephanie Modrijan. 

After five violations offenders could face up to 30 days in jail for each subsequent violation. 

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News rode along with corrections officers as they made compliance checks on offenders in Federal Way and Renton. 

KIRO 7 spotted convicted thief James Harris in Federal Way.

"I haven't gotten any violations at all," said Harris. 

Since last year, the Department of Corrections has seen an increase in arrests. Last year there were about 1,800 arrests a month, compared to 3,000 a month this year.

"In the old model a lot of them would say, 'Screw it,' up their hands up and just commit more crimes because it was just easier," said Modrijan. 

However, the DOC said that there are fewer criminals in jail. 

"Since all violations are being addressed and they’re going to jail one to three days instead of 60 days," said Modrijan. 

The state expects to save about $30 million over two years under the program. 

Not only is the new program saving taxpayer dollars, but the DOC is hoping that it will teach criminals a pattern of compliance. 

"If you have somebody who is trying and knowing , 'If I start doing better and I have a job,' and they're excited about that and they screw up, they're not going to be, you’re not risking losing everything and having them start from scratch," said Modrijan.

"If you really want it bad enough, you won’t violate. And I want it bad enough. I’m getting old and I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired," said Harris.