Gregoire: Arkansas parolee hold will continue



Posted on December 3, 2009 at 3:44 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 3 at 6:38 PM

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Governor Christine Gregoire says Washington will continue to refuse parolees from Arkansas even though she has talked directly to Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe Thursday afternoon.

Officials in Washington and Arkansas have been sparring over who had responsibility for Maurice Clemmons, who police believe killed four Lakewood police officers Sunday at a Parkland coffee shop. Clemmons was shot to death early Tuesday by a Seattle police officer.

Every state has what's called an "Interstate compact." It's an agreement, with rules, to keep track of criminals who move to other states.

Many in Washington say Arkansas broke the rules, allowing Clemmons to be set free.

On Wednesday, Governor Gregoire said the state will no longer accept any more convicted criminals on parole from Arkansas until she's assured of a better system for sending them back.

During sometimes emotional question and answer session with reporters before her telephone call with Beebe today, Gov. Gregoire repeated her stand.

"I want to talk about our attitude, I want to leave it like this. ok? Our attitude is when we send someone to another state we still owe that state our committment to public safety there. And if that individual acts out there, we bring them back. And we incarcerate them. And we hold them accountable for what they've done," said Gregoire. "That wasn't done here. That's what I want to be assured of. I don't want people like this on the streets of Washington state or in Arkansas."

After the call, the governor's office issued a press release saying Gregoire "had a productive, half-hour conversation" with Beebe about how parolees are handled between the states under the interstate compact rules.

"We both agreed that there is work to do together to protect the residents of Washington, Arkansas and the rest of the nation," the governor is quoted as saying.

Gregoire said she and Beebe agreed to have their Department of Corrections leaders work together to review the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision, including any potential improvements.

The governor said she told Beebe the parolee hold will continue at this time.