Rep. Skyler Rude’s Bill Seeking to Increase Peer Support Services for DOC Staff Passes House Unanimously
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Rep. Skyler Rude’s Bill Seeking to Increase Peer Support Services for DOC Staff Passes House Unanimously

A bill that would extend peer support services for staff working within the Department of Corrections was unanimously approved by the state House of Representatives on Thursday.

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. “I look forward to continuing our work to enhance safety and support services for those working in our prison system.”

Rude's bill would extend the peer support testimonial privilege to protect communications between peer counselors and DOC staff. This is a simple fix to the bill passed in 2019 that granted the testimonial privilege for first responders but did not include state corrections staff.

The bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

The 60-day legislative session is scheduled to adjourn March 12.

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