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Criminal Justice Successes in a Whirlwind Year

Restoration of Voting Rights: Legislative progress on criminal justice often requires persistence and patience.  Full restoration of voting rights upon release from prison was finally approved in 2021, ten years after partial rights were restored.  Finally, a clearly stated act HB 1078 will restore this most sacred citizen right of democracy to all persons not under incarceration.  Quaker Voice has been a constant player in this effort, beginning several years before the original bill in 2009 through final passage in 2021 of complete and immediate restoration after release.  Police Accountability: When national events and frustration boil over into protests and a climate of change, progress can come fast.  Many bills addressing police accountability and racial equity, which were priorities for Quaker Voice, were introduced and successfully passed in 2021.  These included HB 1054, providing prohibitions on the use of force such as neck restraints and the use of certain military…

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Criminal Justice Progress 2020 Session

Two bills we supported this year are becoming law: (1) A bill to prohibit contracts by the WA Dept. of Corrections for privately-operated prisons (2) A “bail-jumping” bill, that will reduce penalties for not appearing in court, which tend to affect low-income people most. We are greatly pleased with the success in implementing the corrections ombuds bill that we championed for many years until its passage in 2018.  Unfortunately, several of our priority issues were not resolved this session and await further work next session, including: (1) Abolishing the Death Penalty (2) Restoration of voting rights for persons released from prison but under community supervision (3) Establishment of a system for review for possible release for persons serving long-term sentences such as 15-20 years (4) Reform of debt-based suspension of drivers’ licenses. Quaker Voice understands that we are in this work for the long haul.  For many bills, success requires…

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Criminal Justice Progress in the 2020 Session

The bill to Abolish the Death Penalty (SB 5339) and the bill to prohibit contracts with privately-operated prisons (SB 6442) have both passed the Senate and must receive votes in the House by Friday, March 6, 2020. Unfortunately, the following efforts did not succeed this session: Restoration of voting rights for persons released from prison but under community supervision, establishing a post-conviction review board, and reform of debt-based license suspension. Quaker Voice understands that its work is long term; success on many bills requires several sessions. See the Criminal Justice page for further information about specific bills.

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