All Rise, Court is in Session. The time is here. The time is NOW!
The Washington Staff Assault Task Force was created in February 2008.
As an employee working within the field of criminal justice, you risk your health and welfare everyday by working directly with inmates, arrestees and convicted felons. It is a known fact that assault rates upon law enforcement staff resulting in serious injuries are increasing in our state.
As a Chapter of the 10,000+ member National Staff Assault Task Force, the WSATF was organized in July of 2007 by current and former members of the Washington State Department of Corrections who recognized a need to assist staff members who have been assaulted and injured by inmates. The Task Force was formed by a group of concerned employees who have banded together and formed a non-profit, membership controlled, employee organization to fight back. In its simplest form, this is about, “cops helping cops.”
The WSATF was established to provide Staff assault support, and to aide crime victims within our community. Far too many times, employees are forgotten about after an assault. The Task Force has established an organization that will make sure that assault victims will not be forgotten. This system ensures that each and every member has a voice. Once the staff member has been assisted, the offender will be held accountable through the Civil Court process when appropriate.
When an offender assaults a staff member, the Task Force ensures that an asset check is performed to see if the inmate has any assets.
Many people believe that all inmates are poor. This is the farthest from the truth. Many offenders have monies that you and I don’t see. Once the check is complete, based on the amount of funds that are available, the Task Force will file a lawsuit in the appropriate court. Once the lawsuit is settled, any judgment awarded will go directly to the assaulted staff member, as it should.
Even if the offender has no outside assets, they may have a trust account at the institution along with Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs.) It may be small potatoes to you and me, but ask an inmate if he wants you to own his trust account. One has to remember that it’s not about the money; it’s about holding these convicted felons accountable for their actions.
The Washington Staff Assault Task Force was instrumental in the passing of House Bill 1334 – This law streamlines the process of collection for civil judgments of assault. Before this law was passed, the garnishment procedure was slow, burdensome, and expensive. To date over $1,400.00 has been removed from inmate accounts and dispensed to the correctional staff they assaulted, as it should.
Please see “How a Bill Became a Law” to read about the passage of a new law that provides accountability and deterrence or assaults by taking away an inmate's ability to purchase creature comforts.