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Justice and Crime in Washington State:
A resource guide prepared by Steven Aldrich, MPA

Last updated: 6/10/14

Governmental Agencies, Commissions, and Coalitions

Task Force on Race and the Criminal Justice System, The Task Force on Race and the Criminal Justice System is working to address racial disparity in Washington’s criminal justice system,

The Washington State Minority and Justice Commission was created by an Order of the Washington State Supreme Court to determine whether racial and ethnic bias exists in the courts of the state of Washington and to take creative steps to either overcome it or prevent it.

Washington State Institute for Public Policy. The Institute’s mission is to carry out practical, non-partisan research—at legislative direction—on issues of importance to Washington State.

Washington Department of Corrections. Using Science to Refine Offender Change: The Washington State Department of Corrections is refining its approach to changing offender behavior by taking advantage of the body of science that has developed over the past 20 years.

DSHS Juvenile Justice. Juvenile justice in Washington State is governed by Title 13 RCW, The Juvenile Justice Act of 1977, which establishes a system of accountability and rehabilitative treatment for juvenile offenders.

Washington Administrative Office of the Courts AOC Mission Statement: “. . . To Advance the Efficient and Effective Operation of the Washington Judicial System”

The Washington State Center for Court Research (WSCCR) is the research arm of the Administrative Office of the Courts. It was established in 2004 by order of the Washington State Supreme Court.

  • Our empirical research is intended to improve understanding of the courts, help guide judicial policy, and improve the functioning of our judicial system.
  • We serve judges, clerks, victims, offenders, legal advocates, and all other participants in the judicial process.

Washington State Access to Justice Board, established by Washington Supreme Court Order in 1994. Through its justice system partners and standing committees, it works to achieve equal access to the civil justice system for those facing economic and other significant barriers, .

Sentencing Guidelines Commission The Sentencing Guidelines Commission was eliminated as an independent agency by ESSB 5891 effective July 1, 2011. On that date:

  • The Caseload Forecast Council (CFC) assumed responsibility for the adult felony and juvenile disposition databases, the annual sentencing statistical summaries, and the sentencing manuals.
  • The Commission and the Sex Offender Policy Board (SOPB) were established within the Office of Financial Management (OFM) and will serve to advise the governor and the legislature as necessary on issues relating to adult and juvenile sentencing.

US Bureau of Justice Assistance. BJA overarching guiding principle: Reduce crime, recidivism, and unnecessary confinement, and promote a safe and fair criminal justice system through evidence based and results driven innovation.

Advocacy Groups and Coalitions


Church Council of Greater Seattle.

Columbia Legal Services.

Faith Action Network.

Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy.

Northwest Justice Project. Washington’s publicly funded legal aid program. See “NJP News” and “LawHelp Legal Alerts” on their homepage.

Safe and Just Alternatives. Safe and Just Alternatives is a campaign that seeks to replace the death penalty (that is costly, discriminatory, and risks killing innocent people) in Washington State with life without parole.

Statewide Poverty Action Network. “Poverty Action builds grassroots power to end causes of poverty and create opportunities for everyone to prosper.”

Unitarian Universalists Voices for Justice: Washington State.

Washington Association for Justice. “The Mission of the Washington State Association for Justice is to protect and promote a fair justice system and the right to trial by jury, and to ensure that any person who is harmed by the misconduct or negligence of others can obtain justice in America’s courtrooms, even in actions against the most powerful interests” .

Washington Coalition For Responsible Justice

Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

Washington Community Action Network. “We work to achieve racial, social, and economic justice in our state and nation. Our strength as an organization depends on our members’ involvement.”

Washington Defenders Association. “WDA is an association of Washington State defense attorneys and public defenders, social workers, investigators and those committed to improving indigent defense. We provide training, case assistance, and a legislative voice to those working in public defense.” Bob Cooper lobbies for WDA.

Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation.


Reentry Net, the first-ever clearinghouse of materials for attorneys, social service providers, and policy reform advocates on reentry and the consequences of criminal proceedings.

Papers and Publications (under development)

The Impact of Prior Drug Convictions on Sentencing Outcomes: Evidence form King County

Burning Down the House: The Case Against Juvenile Incarceration, Author Nell Bernstein appeared on NPR’s Fresh Air June 4, 2014 to discuss her book “Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison”.

Ban the Box: Major U.S. Cities and Counties Adopt Fair Hiring Policies to Remove Unfair Barriers to Employment of People with Criminal Records,

How to Repair Your Credit After Getting Released From Prison
by Nicolas Cesare | FiscalTiger | December 10, 2020

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