PDFRCW 43.06C.060

Confidentiality of correspondence, communications, investigations.

(1) Correspondence and communication with the office is confidential and must be protected as privileged correspondence in the same manner as legal correspondence or communication.
(2) The office shall establish confidentiality rules and procedures for all information maintained by the office.
(3) The ombuds shall treat all matters under investigation, including the identities of recipients of ombuds services, complainants, and individuals from whom information is acquired, as confidential, except as far as disclosures may be necessary to enable the ombuds to perform the duties of the office and to support any recommendations resulting from an investigation. Upon receipt of information that by law is confidential or privileged, the ombuds shall maintain the confidentiality of such information and shall not further disclose or disseminate the information except as provided by applicable state or federal law or as authorized by subsection (4) of this section. All records exchanged and communications between the office of the corrections ombuds and the department to include the investigative record are confidential and are exempt from public disclosure under chapter 42.56 RCW.
(4) To the extent the ombuds reasonably believes necessary, the ombuds:
(a) Must reveal information obtained in the course of providing ombuds services to prevent reasonably certain death or substantial bodily harm; and
(b) May reveal information obtained in the course of providing ombuds services to prevent the commission of a crime.
(5) If the ombuds believes it is necessary to reveal investigative records for any of the reasons outlined in *section 4 of this act, the ombuds shall provide a copy of what they intend to disclose to the department for review and application of legal exemptions prior to releasing to any other persons. If the ombuds receives personally identifying information about individual corrections staff during the course of an investigation that the ombuds determines is unrelated or unnecessary to the subject of the investigation or recommendation for action, the ombuds will not further disclose such information. If the ombuds determines that such disclosure is necessary to an investigation or recommendation, the ombuds will contact the staff member as well as the bargaining unit representative before any disclosure.
[ 2018 c 270 § 7.]


*Reviser's note: The reference to "section 4 of this act" appears to be erroneous. "Subsection (4) of this section" was apparently intended.
Sunset Act application: See note following chapter digest.