Corrections officers will be armed with pepper spray and fitted with easier-to-access panic buttons after a federal prison advisory group recommended the state better protect prison staff from inmate violence.
The recommendations by the National Institute of Corrections follow a review requested by Gov. Chris Gregoire after the Jan. 29 slaying of Corrections Officer Jayme Biendl at the Monroe Correctional Complex. A prison inmate has been charged in her slaying.
Speaking at the prison on Monday morning, Gov. Chris Gregoire said that she agreed with the analysis by the National Institute of Corrections, which also said the state needs to do a better job of keeping track of on-duty corrections staff and review whether violent inmates and those serving life sentences should have access to certain areas of the state's prisons.