Clallam Bay inmates sue Department of Corrections

CLALLAM BAY, Wash. — Five Clallam Bay Corrections Center inmates who were transported to Walla Walla State Penitentiary following a nonviolent meal strike in October are suing the state Department of Corrections to gain release from solitary confinement.

The Peninsula Daily News reports a lawyer for one of the inmates says they could be transferred by next week, but a lawyer who filed the lawsuit pressed for immediate action.

They also want a Thurston County Superior Court judge, where the lawsuit was filed, to rule that DOC violated their rights to due process, equal protection of the laws and constitutional guarantee against cruel punishment.

Columbia Legal Services of Seattle filed the complaint Tuesday on behalf of inmates George Augustine, Kimonti Carter, Jason Roberts, Felix Sitthivong and Corey Zaharko.

Corrections center officials defended the transfer Wednesday, saying it was used to diffuse the situation after officials received information that groups advocating for the strike would punish with violence individuals who refused to participate.