The criminal justice bills described below made it through Rules and were passed by one chamber in our state legislature. Now those same bills must get passed in the opposite chamber before the April cutoff. Please email your legislator today and ask she or he take the action in the ASK below. Three of these bills are before the Senate Law & Justice Committee; so, If your legislator is a member of this committee (see attachment) your encouragement is even more important! Pick the one bill most important to you and contact your legislator as instructed, then consider doing the same on another. Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs; HB 1390) would substantially reduce the costs and legal financial obligations, other than victim restitution, that released prisoners are required to pay. The bill would eliminate interest, set by law at 12%, on the non-restitution portion of LFOs, and permits courts to waive the non-restitution portion of the principal for offenders ruled indigent. Relief from this burden will help released prisoners reconstruct their lives and reduce recidivism. It will also improve public safety. Action Needed Now: HB 1390 was referred to the Senate Law and Justice Committee, but has not been scheduled for a hearing. ASK your senator support this bill by requesting Law and Justice Committee Chair, Senator Padden, schedule HB 1390 for a hearing, then vote in support of the bill when opportunities arise. Higher Education for prisoners in prison (HB 1704) would repeal the law that currently prohibits use of state money for inmate post-secondary education. Washington State Institute for Public Policy studies show every $1.00 spent post-secondary education for prisoners saves $20.13, primarily because it reduces recidivism. Action Needed Now:HB 1704 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Law and Justice Committee on March 24th. ASK your senator to support this bill by requesting Senator Padden schedule it for Executive Action in the Law and Justice Committee once it is heard, then vote in support of the bill when opportunities arise. Mitigating the impacts of property crimes: Washington has the highest Property Crime rate in the nation. HB 1885 and SB 5755 would change policy regarding property crimes by increasing the focus on behavioral health treatment and services (mental health and drug and alcohol abuse treatment) and reinstating community supervision to encourageor require participation in treatment when it is indicated. Experience in other states has shown this approach reduces crime and saves money. Action Needed Now: SB 5755 is scheduled for a hearing in House Public Safety on March 24th. ASK your two representatives support this bill: first by requesting Representative Goodman schedule it for Executive Action in the Public Safety Committee once it is heard, then by voting in support of the bill when opportunities arise. Restorative Justice (HB 1505) expands Restorative Justice practices (supported by a FCWPP initiated bill in 2012) for use with all juvenile cases deemed appropriate for diversion by the prosecution and judiciary. Restorative Justice practices look at crime as damage done to relationships and bring together offender, victim, family and community members in an effort to recognize and mend the damage caused by an offense, instead of focusing primarily, or exclusively, on punishing an offender. Action Needed Now: ASK your Senator request Senator O’Ban schedule HB 1505 for Executive Action in the Human Services, Mental Health, and Housing Committee he chairs and then vote on the bill when given the opportunity. (HB 1505 was heard in the Senate Human Services, Mental Health, and Housing Committee on March 17th.) Thank you, FCWPP Criminal Justice Working Group How to send an email:
- If you know your legislators’ names, send an email addressed to: email@example.com (Example: Rep. Frank Chopp’s address is Frank.Chopp@leg.wa.gov). You can also leave a phone message for your legislators using the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 (staff will identify your legislative district and find your legislators’ names).
- If you need help finding your legislative district, legislators’ names or email addresses, click email my Legislator
Attachments: Senate Law & Justice Committee (12 KB PDF)