OLYMPIA – Several criminal justice reform bills that moved out of the Senate Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation Committee last week were passed in the Senate this week.
“We are approving important legislation that puts people first by setting them up to thrive in our communities when emerging from incarceration,” said Sen. Jeannie Darneille (D-Tacoma), chair of the Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation Committee. “After someone finishes serving their time, they must be given a true chance to succeed.”
House bills passed by the Senate this week include:
HB 2576 will direct the state to carry out a study of health and safety issues in private detention/correctional facilities in the state, such as private jails. Additionally, HB 2640, which will clarify that private detention facilities like the Tacoma Northwest Detention Center are not “essential public facilities,” meaning they are subject to local land use regulations and would need approval from local authorities in order to expand.
HB 2393 would allow a qualifying person to earn 10 days’ credit each month they are in compliance with the terms of their community custody. This was recommended by the Washington Criminal Sentencing Task Force to reduce recidivism through incentives for compliance.
HB 2394 would require terms of community custody to run concurrently unless a court expressly orders them to run consecutively. For individuals currently serving sentences, DOC would recalculate scheduled end dates for terms of community custody. This change was recommended by the Washington Criminal Sentencing Task Force to provide clarity for staff and to increase consistency among all counties.
HB 2417 will reform Swift and Certain sanctioning programs for individuals in community custody, allowing DOC to use nonconfinement sanctions for low-level violations and to consider additional circumstances when deciding whether to impose a confinement sanction for low-level violations. DOC requested this change to provide more appropriate sanctions and address concerns over the impact of jail confinement on a person’s stability in the community.
HB 2794 would streamline the sealing of juvenile court records once a youth has turned 18, completed confinement and supervision, and paid restitution owed to any victims.
The Senate and the House of Representatives must reconcile any changes made to these bills in their respective chambers before the governor can sign them into law.