Letter from stafford creek corrections center

Stafford Creek Corrections Center (SCCC) is a prison complex in Aberdeen. It opened in 2000 and has a capacity of 1,936 people. When the pandemic first broke out, the Department of Corrections was not allowing incarcerated people to access their savings accounts.

During the Covid19 pandemic, our families and friends have been economically affected and are faced with many financial challenges. Many are out of work and are struggling to keep with payments, bills, and to ensure that there are essentials (food, drinks, household supplies, toiletry, etc.) stocked up in their home while they wait out this global crisis. This event has been unprecedented and many were unprepared.

Currently DOC has implemented protocals of social distancing and other measures that include no visitations until this pandemic is all over. These new protocols and restrictions have left things unclear and is creating an atmosphere of uncertainty, Which many of the folks incarcerated can only wait in isolation and worry helplessly while our loved ones are struggling and in fear of their own lives and future.

Folks incarcerated have a savings account that has been accumulated during the time of their incarceration. Money is accumulated by taking a percentage of all funds being sent to an incarcerated individuals account from either family or friends, and placed into a mandatory savings account.

According to DOC policy, incarcerated individuals are able to access their savings account only for specific reasons such as Medical and education. Other reasons also includes, ”Natural Disasters” to assist families who are struggling in a time of crisis, in which the Covid19 pandemic is classified as a ”natural disaster”. For this reason, Many incarcerated Individuals have attempted to send all their money accumulated in their savings account to their family to help out in this time of dire need. However, they are denied and or have to go through a narrow process which SCCC just implemented.

In order for the individuals to withdraw money from their savings and send to their family who are in need, there now has to be a copy of the bills that needs to be paid provided by the inmate froim their family, then a check will be made out to that specific company if your request is approved. This process is very limiting in how the money in our savings account is used in a time of crisis, This does not include the purchasing of essentials (food, drinks, household supplies and needs), but only focuses on payments and bills. Nevertheless, before they imposed this new process, there were several individuals who were approved to send their savings home, but as more and more request came in, they decided to put in place this process to make it harder for people to send their money home with no policy to support this new rule set in place.

During this unprecedented times, peoples lives have been negatively impacted. By accessing their mandatory savings account, Incarcerated Individuals now have the means to assist in any way and help ease the strain on their families and loved ones.

I am asking for assistance from our community to contact Department Of Corrections and Stafford Creek Corrections Center and request, for the duration of the crisis, for this new rule set in place to be lifted by the institution and DOC. So that incarcerated individuals are able send their savings home to support their families and loved ones during the covid19 pandemic without unnecessary restrictions

Updates from the University of Washington Bothell's Project on Mass Incarceration in Washington State