Authority & Rule Making in WA DOC

As a Washington State agency, the Washington Department of Corrections is led by a secretary appointed by the Washington State Governor. The WA DOC Secretary position is a Governor’s Cabinet level position. The activities of the WA DOC are governed by the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), as well as by case law precedent and federal law. WA DOC procedures are directed by the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) and internal WA DOC agency policy. At the local prison facility level, Operational Memoranda may be used to create local policies, which are subordinate to statewide agency policies.

RCW 72.01.090 authorizes WA DOC “to make its own rules for the proper execution of its powers.” WA DOC WACs are developed through WA DOC’s formal rule making process. Internal WA DOC agency policies are typically on a two-year revision cycle. Each policy has a designated WA DOC staff person who serves as the policyholder. WA DOC policyholders develop draft policy revisions in collaboration with internal (and sometimes external) stakeholders. Policy drafts are then submitted to WA DOC’s policy review department before going to the WA DOC Secretary for a final signature. Some special WA DOC policies cannot be revised until designated legislative committees have been given an opportunity to review proposed changes.

The Washington State public may give input on internal WA DOC policies by visiting here. We provide additional resources on WA DOC Rule Making and Policies below.

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