One year ago, a new Superintendent and Associate Superintendent took the helm of Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Aberdeen, WA. Which most here agree, is no easy task. Stafford Creek has been known within the inmate population as a good place to do time, however, at one point had a major drug problem.

Stafford Creek has always had a relatively low violence rate for a prison environment, thankfully our new Administration’s vision is one that matches the majority of the prisoners, one fight is to many. One discrimination is to many. Equality is across the board or it is non- existent. 

These are important issues for the LGBT community. We are often victimized in prison. If not physically, then sexually; if not sexually, then verbally; if not by inmates, then staff. Sometime it is all of the above and more. If its not violent manipulation, it also comes in the form of drugs. Crystal meth has long been used as a method to drop ones sexual moral compass. Unfortunately, the LGBT community is normal in the regard that it has its share of dangerous addictions, meth is at the top of that list.

That’s why the changes that have been made here are so important for the community to know about. If the environment that an inmate is housed in makes them feel threatened on a regular basis, that threat will occupy the majority of the brain. Little else will matter. Put it this way, if you have a broken house that you want to fix you need your hands for tools. Hammer and nails…however when a threat approaches you need defense tools, sword and shield. Which leaves the defending party unable to build, because they are defending. 

If the new administration here creates an environment where the mainline feels comfortable enough to drop their figurative weaponry and pick up their figurative tools, what happens next is a place that harbors reality based restoration. 

With programs like Redemption, LGBT Community groups, Black Prisoners Caucus, Stonecatchers Literacy Group, and the IMU Redemption, Stafford Creek is slowly turning the culture here into something unseen in any other prison in the United States. With a highly limited budget and almost zero community support. 

If DOC Headquarters would track recidivism rates for those individuals who are doing time under this Superintendents care, one could bet it would be among the lowest recidivism rates in the country for any long-term minimum facility and then some.

If there is ever a time to get involved, now is the time.

With Love 
Jeff Utnage