Sen. Jim Kastama (D-25th District) has filed a bill to establish a
corrections ombudsman, which would fulfill one of FCWPP’s major goals for
this legislative session.
Current co-sponsors include Sen. Dan Swecker (R-20th District), Sen.
Karen Fraser (D-22nd District), Sen. Chris Marr (D-6th District), Sen.
Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36th District), and Sen. Debbie Regala (D-27th
District). Please thank them.
Other senators can sign on as co-sponsors by 2 pm today, Tuesday.
It is very important to have as many sponsors as possible on this bill, to
assure it will be given a hearing and serious consideration by the
legislature. PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL YOUR SENATOR IMMEDIATELY AND ENCOURAGE
THEM TO CONSIDER ADDING THEIR NAME AS A SPONSOR OF THIS BILL to assure
access to an ombudsman for their constituents and others who have family
members and friends in correctional facilities. We would also appreciate
receiving a copy or notice of any communications you send. SEE CONTACT INFO
The bill will also implement one of the major recommendations of the
national Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons’ recent
“Confronting Confinement” report,
recommended that every state create an independent oversight body for its
prisons and jails. This was also a top recommendation of the education and
employment work group of Washington State’s Joint Task Force on Offenders
Programs, Sentencing & Supervision. The national commission makes a strong
case for an independent body to oversee and assure the effectiveness of our
correctional facilities in their task of providing safety, rehabilitation,
and successful reentry for releasing offenders.
The bill is endorsed by the Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy,
the Lutheran Office on Public Policy, the Transition & Reentry Reform
Coalition, and the newly formed Religious Coalition for the Common Good,
bringing together faith-based organizations from around the state.
Thanks for your help in this important step in working for accountability
and justice within prisons and well as more successful reentry programs for
the excessive numbers of our citizens we incarcerate.
TO CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS:
Call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 (toll free) during session,
weekdays 8 AM to 8 PM, Saturdays 9 AM to 1 PM. The operators can tell you
who your senator is and will take your message.
From the Legislature’s home page, http://www1.leg.wa.gov/legislature/, you
can also find your district and legislators using your address. Links then
lead to your legislators’ web pages with contact information. A list of all
senators’ emails can be found at
http://apps.leg.wa.gov/memberemail/Default.aspx?Chamber=S. Email addresses
follow the rule: firstname.lastname@example.org.