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Washington DOC Guard's Pay Reduced After Bringing Loaded Weapon To Work

Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) guard Sam Woods appealed a six month, ten percent reduction in pay for bringing a loaded weapon onto prison grounds. The reduction was affirmed.

Woods became a guard at the Twin Rivers Corrections Center in 1990. He received sanctions and misconduct reports for safety and security issues such as sleeping while on suicide watch. Woods took a brief leave of absence and returned to Twin Rivers. Policy required that he check for new policy changes which he failed to do. As a result, he used a disallowed handcuff procedure on two occasions. A report led to the search of his personal property after guards alleged that he carried a weapon in his vehicle. The weapon was found and the ten percent sanction was implemented. He appealed arguing that he simply had forgotten that the weapon was in his vehicle following his leave from Twin Rivers.

The Washington State Personnel Appeals Board held that, although the DOC failed to prove that he did not check for policy changes, "the egregious nature of the security risk to the institution...when he brought a loaded weapon onto institutional grounds," warranted the sanction. See: Woods v. Department of Corrections, Wash. Personnel Appeals Board, Case No. RED 98 0007 (Oct. 12, 1999).

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