The problems with Washington's prison healthcare system, ferry service, and vaccine lottery, this week
Bill Radke reviews the week's news with Seattle Met deputy editor Allison Williams, Publicola police reporter Paul Kiefer and Kitsap Sun military reporter Josh Farley.
On Thursday, Governor Inslee announced that every person with at least one Covid vaccine dose will be entered into a lottery, with prizes including cash, college tuition assistance, airline tickets, sports tickets, or an Xbox. He called the incentive program "the shot of a lifetime". But will it be enough to get people vaccinated?
This week’s hot weather might have felt lovely to some people. But it was also a reminder that Seattle’s fire season is on it’s way. We’ve just had our driest March and April in 100 years - in fact Denver had more rain last month than we did. As wildfires become more and more common in the north west, what will Washington do to combat them?
King County Council has banned government use of facial recognition technology. The decision prohibits Seattle-area county administrative and executive offices from using the tech to identify potential suspects. It does not, however, stop private businesses, schools or other organizations from using it. But was facial recognition software being used in King County to begin with?
Speaking of law enforcement, It's been almost one year since Seattle Police pulled out of the East Precinct building on Capitol Hill, and the area became know as the CHOP. This week, there was another city council vote on whether and how to defund the police. Where does defunding stand now?
Continuing with criminal justice news - Washington has agreed to pay $3.25m to the family of a man who died of a festering abdominal wound that correction department staff didn't treat properly while he was in the state prison in Monroe. This isn’t the only criticism the DOC has received recently. Twice in the last year Washington’s Corrections Ombuds has warned that the system isn’t doing enough to prevent inmate suicides. What is the Department of Corrections doing to improve physical and mental healthcare for incarcerated people?
Finally, the Bremerton-Seattle ferry route went down to a single boat this week. That means half the route’s runs are canceled until a second ferry is back up and running. Almost every ferry route was already down boats or using smaller vessels after an engine fire on the M/V Wenatchee in April put the boat out of service. Should Washington, or the federal government, be putting more money into propping up our ferry system?