This letter is in reference to the article appearing in the Walla Walla Union Bulletin on Feb. 6.
Four Washington State Correctional officers were injured by inmates wielding "shanks" -- knives made by inmates inside the walls. Two of the correctional officers involved are closely related to me; a grandson and an adopted grandson.
The number of incidents involving serious assaults at the Washington State Penitentiary are drastically escalating. Not only are officers being stabbed and beaten, but inmates are also being attacked and, in some cases, killed.
It is no secret that correctional officer positions have been drastically reduced, which breeds a potential killing field. These conditions are appalling and must be immediately rectified.
Our officers perform one of the most dangerous jobs on our planet. Why must they perform this job with their hands cuffed, so to speak?
We must not permit the conditions to fall to the level of the 1970s when the penitentiary was literally a "no man's land," when Sgt. Cross was fatally stabbed to death. Officer Jayme Biendl was killed on Jan. 29, 2011, at Monroe.
It is my intention to start a statewide campaign to bring the necessary changes to the Washington state correctional system. I ask all of you reading this letter to join me in protesting these appalling conditions in our current penal system. God willing, we could save lives
Roberta Casey Zimmerman