Seattle, WA – A Yakima County Department of Corrections van was caught on video dropping newly-released former inmates off in a parking lot under a freeway in downtown Seattle (video below).
KING released the video of the marked county corrections vehicle unloading three handcuffed passengers onto a city street on April 8.
It was filmed by a resident who happened to be in her car in the parking lot when the drop-off occurred.
The video showed the corrections officer removed the men’s handcuffs and gave them packages containing their personal effects before sending them on their way.
The first man who was released stopped at the closest curb to go through his belongings and find a belt to hold his sagging pants up, the video showed. He was joined by another man a moment later.
The disturbing video was sent to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office, and she was not happy, KING reported.
Durkan has asked both Yakima County and Washington state corrections officials to explain what the video showed, The Bellingham Herald reported.
Washington State Department of Corrections Director Steve Sinclair responded to the mayor and said that the video also raised concerns with state prison authorities.
Sinclair said that activities featured in the video were those of the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office and that the former inmates were being released after serving time at the Yakima County jail, according to The Bellingham Herald.
Yakima County is hours away from Seattle and they are separated by a mountain range.
The mayor said that Yakima County officials had said that the practice of dropping off in parking lots was not standard, and that the matter was being investigated, KOMO reported.
“We asked Yakima County why this is taking place. The Yakima County Jail reported that dropping off in a parking was not standard practice,” the mayor’s office said in a statement. “They are looking into the reason this occurred and we will share this information with you once we receive it.”
Officials said that men who were released were supposed to have been returned to the King County jail to be released, KOMO reported.
Sinclair said policies will be changed immediately to direct all release drop-offs to be done at the corrections department’s Community Justice Centers where support services and resources can be made available to the former inmates.
There have previously been allegations of other jurisdictions dropping former prisoners off in Seattle because the city has more resources for the homeless than other communities, KOMO reported.
Watch video of the former prisoners being released below: