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Graduated Reentry Success Story | Washington State Department of Corrections

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I entered the justice system at the youthful age of 20, facing 60 years in prison for violent felonies. I would later plead to an 18-year sentence, almost the same amount of time I had been alive and exactly the number of years it would take my newborn child to become a legal adult. That was the news I received from my first phone call home after arrest; “I’m pregnant.” Facing what may as well have been a life sentence, knowing I had a child on the way, who could grow up without a father, I was left contemplating how I could turn my life around.

The first year of my incarceration I continued to perpetuate poor decision making. It wasn’t until I held my child for the first time that I experienced a true paradigm shift. I was a parent now and life wasn’t about me anymore; it was about my son. I started release planning with 17 years to serve, enrolled in education and sought out every opportunity for self-development, but change takes time and persistence. At every institution, I invested my time in the education department, while fighting in the courts to continue seeing my son every weekend. I was awarded weekly visits, and my son was my guiding light and life’s priority.

Halfway through my sentence I lost my mother and spent my inmate savings to go to her funeral. I weighed the option of continuing weekly visits with my son or moving to an institution that offered degree programs. I knew that I had to have tangible, marketable tools to gain employment, so I made the tough decision to move hours away from my son to pursue my degree. It would not only result in earning my associate degree, but in earning a scholarship through the Prison Scholar Fund to pursue my bachelor’s degree.

As my sentence neared its end, I focused on applying for the Graduated Reentry Program (GRE). I was awarded a scholarship from the Prison Scholar Fund to attend a Software Engineering & Web Development Bootcamp through the Coding Dojo, while participating in the GRE program at Brownstone Work Release. I immediately started the program upon my arrival at the work release in June, walking to Goodwill Industries every day to utilize their Wi-Fi and computer lab during school hours. Completing the program with superior marks, I was offered immediate remote employment with the Coding Dojo following my graduation in September to instruct software development.

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The GRE program presents a life changing opportunity, I knew I had to take advantage of it by using every waking hour. I entered our justice system with no marketable skills, nor professional employment experience. I utilized fifteen years of Correctional Industries experience to get a second job as a Graveyard Production Supervisor, with a wage of 30 plus per hour. I worked two full-time jobs and slept five hours a night, spending my weekends with my son. Transferring from custody to ankle monitor, I was offered a position working remotely with the Prison Scholar Fund to facilitate their Digital Equity curriculum, teaching the formerly incarcerated about technology advancements and job search tools. With custody approval, I accepted the position and worked three jobs to save as much as possible for release.

I made my final transition into society in May of 2023. The first four months of GRE were spent pursuing education and every month after was spent working two or more jobs to ensure a successful reentry. I left prison with no savings, just a solid plan to work hard and create a life for my son. I’ve now transitioned into society, I have two full-time remote positions, living in a newer large home, and driving a luxury vehicle. My son’s sporting games are a priority, along with chasing goals to purchase a home. I am now a Director of Operations with the Prison Scholar Fund and work on the instruction team with the Coding Dojo. Although I’ve done this on my own, I couldn’t have done it without the Graduated Reentry Program.

The Graduated Reentry Program saved my life. Without the GRE program I would have been released after 15 straight years of prison with no savings, because I spent it to attend my mother’s funeral, and forty dollars gate money. GRE presents the path for the incarcerated to truly prepare for release, to enter society with structure, to find a job and start saving. The program nurtures community relationship building, improves community safety by releasing individuals that are prepared to reenter society, and provides a platform for individuals who have earned their participation to launch their lives with support. My success is largely attributed to the Graduated Reentry Program.

I want to share a personal thanks to all of the Department of Corrections (DOC) staff throughout my incarceration who made my success possible. I won’t list specific names because every staff member who positively influenced my incarceration deserves to be listed; you helped change my life and cultivate true rehabilitation. Those members of the DOC team who touched my life will remember, and please know that my success is yours. Thank you.

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Long-term forecast predicts increased forest fire activity in Oregon and Washington’s dampest areas

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Long-term forecast predicts increased forest fire activity in Oregon and Washington’s dampest areas


Hotter and more intense fires are likely coming to the Pacific Northwest’s cooler and wetter forests. That’s from new research led by an Oregon State University scientist.

Parts of the Cascades Region of Washington and Oregon are going to become increasingly susceptible to increased fire activity in the coming decades, according to new research.

Brian Bull / KLCC

Comprehensive wildfire simulations for over a 23-million acre stretch of forest show that for a 30-year period beginning in 2035, Oregon’s western Cascades and Washington’s north Cascades — as well as the Puget Lowlands and Olympic Mountains — could see at least twice as much fire activity as seen in the last 30 years.

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“It’s time to start thinking about things that could counteract those climate effects,” said Alex Dye. He’s a research associate with OSU’s College of Forestry, and the lead author on the study published in the latest edition of JGR Biogeosciences.

“As we move forward into this research, the logical next steps are to explore those other pieces like ignition and vegetation changes, and how that can all interact with climate to further refine these future fire risk projections,” added Dye.

To many residents of the Pacific Northwest, these predictions may be surprising given the dense lushness of these areas. But researchers say modeling indicates that as the climate continues to get warmer and drier, fires in these cool and wet spaces will increase in probability, size, and number.

“Those forests are so ingrained in the natural history and the socioeconomics and the lived experience of being in the western PNW,” Dye told KLCC. “So adding in more fire that affects those resources from a variety of directions is a big deal and is something to think about as we move into the next 30 years.”

Dye said that it can be challenging to assess fire probability in an environment where there isn’t much empirical information about the fire history to build models. And the comparative infrequency of fire makes it easy for the general public to regard the PNW “Westside” as a low-risk area. But recent conflagrations like those observed around Labor Day 2020 – which also led to Oregon’s worst wildfire season no record — can show what can happen when fires do erupt in these areas.

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Affected resources range from drinking water to timber, as well as residents and wildlife.

Dye’s work is a collaboration with Matt Reilly, Karin Riley, John Kim, and Becky Kerns of the U.S. Forest Service, and OSU co-researchers Andy McEvoy and Rebecca Lemons. The U.S.F.S team members work at the Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center, the Pacific Northwest Research Station, or the Rocky Mountain Research Center.

The Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center and the Pacific Northwest Research Station Westside Fire Initiative supported the research.

Copyright 2024, KLCC.



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Donald Trump rages at Nikki Haley after losing Washington, D.C. primary

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Donald Trump rages at Nikki Haley after losing Washington, D.C. primary


Donald Trump has lashed out at “Birdbrain” Nikki Haley after the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations won her first Republican primary in Washington, D.C.

The former president accused Haley, Trump’s only serious challenger left in the GOP primary, of being a “loser” after she won Sunday’s race by 62.8 percent to 33.2 percent.

The Context

Haley achieved a small but symbolic victory over Trump on Sunday, becoming the first woman to win a Republican primary in U.S. history.

Trump is still all but guaranteed to clinch the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, having won resounding victories in all the previous eight races. These include the Michigan primary and the Missouri and Idaho caucuses on Saturday, as well as Haley’s home state of South Carolina in February.

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Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump speaks during a Get Out the Vote Rally March 2, in Richmond, Virginia. Trump has mocked Nikki Haley following her GOP primary victory in Washington DC.

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What We Know

In a post on Truth Social, Trump attacked Haley over her previous performances in the primary season, including coming in third place behind Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus.

Trump also downplayed the significance of Haley’s win in Washington, D.C., which only awards 19 of the 1,215 delegates needed to clinch the nomination, while citing his recent victories.

“Birdbrain is a loser, record low performance in virtually every State. DeSanctus easily beat her in Iowa for a VERY DISTANT second place, and then she ran up to the podium, before he had a chance to do so, and claimed victory,” Trump wrote.

“I enjoy watching the Bird disavow her PLEDGE to the RNC and her statement that she would NEVER run against President Trump (‘A great President’). Well, she ran, she lied, and she LOST BIG!”

In a separate social media post, Trump added: “I purposely stayed away from the D.C. Vote because it is the ‘Swamp,’ with very few delegates, and no upside. Birdbrain spent all of her time, money and effort there. Over the weekend we won Missouri, Idaho, and Michigan—BIG NUMBERS—Complete destruction of a very weak opponent. The really big numbers will come on Super Tuesday. Also, WAY UP ON CROOKED JOE!”

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Haley’s office has been contacted for comment via email.

During the 2016 Republican primary, Trump came in third place in the District of Columbia race, receiving fewer than 14 percent of the vote and no delegates before going on to win the GOP nomination overall.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.



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As Gaza war rages on, Israel focuses on petty politics over Washington – analysis

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As Gaza war rages on, Israel focuses on petty politics over Washington – analysis


The juxtaposition of two items on the Kan Bet news reel Sunday morning was jarring.

One report dealt with the deaths on Friday of three soldiers and the wounding of 14 others, six of them in serious condition, in a booby-trapped house in Khan Yunis. The other report was that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the embassy in Washington not to help senior cabinet and war minister member Benny Gantz set up any meetings during his current trip to Washington.

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On the one hand, a heart-wrenching reminder that a brutal war is grinding on that is extracting a painful toll in the daily deaths of Israeli soldiers. On the other hand, it is a squirm-worthy reminder that petty politics is once again clouding the vision of the country’s leaders.

Even as IDF soldiers continue to fall in Gaza, Netanyahu and Gantz are sparring over protocol, prestige, and power – definitely not a good look right now. If you are fighting in Gaza, if you have a relative being held hostage in Gaza, if you have relatives fighting in Gaza, to see a return of this type of politics seems very small.

If the country’s top leaders cannot come to an agreement on an issue as straightforward as a trip by a senior minister to Washington, then what does that say about their decision-making ability regarding other aspects of the war?

Minister-without-portfolio Benny Gantz walks behind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as Defense Minister Yoav gallant takes his seat, at a recent news conference. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

On October 11, four days after Hamas invaded Israel, Gantz did what a majority of the public wanted him to do and joined a national emergency government, saying that it was a time for unity to fight a barbaric enemy.

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Message of unity

At a joint press conference with Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at the time, Gantz said, “Our standing here today, shoulder to shoulder, is a clear message to our enemies, and more important than that, a message to all the citizens of Israel, that we are together, that we are all mobilized.”

This was a powerful message. And there was something reassuring – as the war progressed in the early stages – seeing Netanyahu, Gallant, and Gantz, bitter political rivals, sitting on the same podium at joint press conferences and essentially reading from the same page. That conveyed a sense of solidarity to the country that, as a result of October 7, the country’s political rivals were – at least for the time being – looking at the bigger picture, at winning this war.

Slowly, the bigger picture is becoming clouded by politics.

Just as the sight of Netanyahu, Gallant, and Gantz holding joint press conferences for a few weeks conveyed a message of working together, their failure to have held these joint press conferences since late December sends the opposite message: that they aren’t working together.

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And that is a worrisome message to send a nation at war; a nation that thirsts for reassurance, as its sons and daughters are risking their lives fighting, that its leaders are working together harmoniously.

But, apparently, the leaders are not working together harmoniously. If they were, then Gallant would not have done an end-around Netanyahu last week, giving Gantz veto power – unbeknownst to Netanyahu – of any new plan to draft haredim.

If they were working together harmoniously, Gantz would not have decided on his own to travel to the US for talks with administration officials and congressional representatives, and Netanyahu would not have strenuously objected and reportedly told Gantz that “Israel only has one prime minister.”

All those are signs of disharmony.

Neither Netanyahu nor Gantz comes out of this Washington affair looking particularly good.

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Why is Gantz insistent on going to Washington over the prime minister’s objections? Why does the prime minister object so strenuously?

Gantz’s supporters will say that he is motivated by the country’s interests. They argue that as Israel’s legitimacy for continuing the war diminishes in Washington with each passing day, and with incidents such as the humanitarian aid tragedy last week, it is important for Gantz to go there and shore up support in the administration.

According to this argument, Gantz is better able to do this than Netanyahu, whose relationship with US President Joe Biden is believed to be strained and who is anathema to some Congressional Democrats. Israel, Gantz’s camp argues, needs America’s continued support – moral, diplomatic, and material – and Gantz can help ensure it.





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