Celebrate! Restorative Justice Bill is now Law
HB 1775/ Restorative Justice –
Signed by the Governor, Friday March 30! Standing left to right: Sen. Jim Hargrove, Lonnie Johns-Brown (Crime Victim Advocates), Rep. Roger Goodman, Sam Merrill, Paul McCold, Jana McKinley, Beth Rodman, and Steven Aldrich. On Friday, March 30 Governor Gregoire signed the Restorative Justice bill, HB 1775. FCWPP was represented at the signing by Paul McCold, Beth Rodman, Steven Aldrich, and Sam Merrill. Also attending – Jana McKinley (Community Youth Services), Lonnie Johns-Brown (Crime Victims Advocates), and Rep. Roger Goodman and Sen. James Hargrove.
By unanimous votes in both the House and Senate, the option of voluntary juvenile restorative justice has just become law in Washington. That is right, not one vote against this Quaker led bill! This legislation encourages a voluntary process of bringing together certain juvenile offenders and those harmed by their actions, as well as the community, including family and support systems around each of them. The goal is for these parties to arrive at a mutually acceptable approach to encouraging the offender to take responsibility for righting the wrong that has been done. As the principal sponsor of HB 1775, Rep. Roger Goodman of Kirkland, was quoted on the Washington State Wire website, “Instead of fueling a cycle of increasing alienation and crime, these programs encourage a cycle of restoration that reconnects the offender with the community and reduces repeat offenses.” Truly this is a new paradigm
Suzanne Duscha, the founder and leader of Restorative Justice of Jefferson County, also praised the bill, saying it would give her organization and others like it the credibility and traction they need to start working closely with the sheriff’s and prosecutor’s offices. Perhaps you know people in your own communities whose work will be enhanced by this legislation.
The champions directly responsible for the success of this bill merit our deep and heartfelt appreciation. Nothing would have happened at all without Paul McCold and Beth Rodman of Olympia who are passionate about restorative justice and true experts on it. Thank you, Paul and Beth! FCWPP was able to connect them up with Rep. Roger Goodman. Though not a Quaker himself, he is a product of a Friends school in Rhode Island, and after inspiring our first successful bill has been an ally on criminal justice reform for over a decade. Our lobbyist, Steven Aldrich, adroitly piloted this bill through legislative rocks and shoals with the support of our strong volunteer criminal justice team, especially Sam Merrill and Tom Ewell.
A groundbreaking collaboration developed during this process: The Crime Victims Advocates significantly strengthened and supported the bill, including contributing to the definition of Restorative Justice that it contains. Although Friends may be best known for working to nurture and develop “that of God” in offenders, we recognize “that of God” in victims and offenders alike and care about healing both. We hope this collaboration will begin to bridge any unnecessary divide between our perspectives.