Gov. Inslee signs Rep. Skyler Rude’s bill seeking to increase peer support services for Department of Corrections staff into law

A bill that would extend peer support services for staff working within the Department of Corrections was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday.

House Bill 2762 was introduced by Rep. Skyler Rude, R-Walla Walla.

Department of Corrections (DOC) staff face many of the same challenges that their law enforcement peers face when responding to critical incidents. Peer counseling programs provide an important avenue for processing these experiences.

“Peer-to-peer counseling programs are an important resource for correctional staff who face higher rates of PTSD, depression, and suicide,” said Rude.  “We need to provide whatever resources we can to enhance the safety and support services for everyone who works in our prison system.”

Rude's bill will:

  • Extend the peer support testimonial privilege to protect communications between peer counselors and DOC staff.
  • Fix a bill passed in 2019 that granted the testimonial privilege for first responders but did not include state corrections staff.

The bill passed the Legislature with unanimous bipartisan support. It will go into effect later this year.

The 2020 legislative session adjourned on March 12.

###

Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov