2023 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
In light of the nationwide movement for social justice that reached a tipping point in 2020, the Washington State legislature introduced some of the most meaningful sentencing reform bills in the last 40 years. These sentencing reform bills have the potential to significantly reduce countless incarcerated individuals' sentences by years - and even decades in many cases.
The bills listed below will be up for debate in the upcoming legislative session from January - Spring 2023. The passing of these bills would begin to dismantle institutional racism and disproportionate sentencing practices carried out on Black, Indigenous and POC individuals and communities by Washington State’s outdated criminal justice system. We are calling on your support to help get these bills passed!
This bill would begin to undo some "tough on crime" legislation passed throughout the 1990s, that disproportionately targeted/impacted BIPOC youth who lived in communities that experienced high crime rates. Applied retroactively, it would automatically call for mass re-sentencing and sentence reduction for all prisoners whose juvenile adjudications were used against them as adults. The Washington State Department of Corrections already has technical infrastructure statewide to process mass re-sentencing due to the recently passed Blake vs State decision.
This bill gives Washington an opportunity to address mass incarceration, promote racial equity, and bring Washington in line with the most current understanding of adolescent brain science. It acknowledges recent research in adolescent brain science as a mitigating factor in adult sentencing. It eliminates juvenile adjudications from being used against individuals who are prosecuted for adult adjudications. This legislative change would align Washington’s current sentencing practices with Washington state’s existing criminal law. It would unauthorize the use of juvenile adjudications to be calculated as adult felony points and used as a determining factor on an adult sentencing grid.
For more information about this bill, see the Bill Summary here.
UPDATES + CALLS TO ACTION:
This bill has been re-introduced but has limited retroactivity. Prisoners in WA state are currently evaluating the new language and we will post their description and opinion on the new bill shortly.
For more information on this bill, see the official Bill Summary here.
UPDATES + CALLS TO ACTION:
UPDATES ON PAST BILLS FROM 2022
HB1325/SB5451: Emerging Adults Parole Bill
Unfortunately the Emerging Adults Parole Bill did not make it out of committee this year. This means the bill is now dormant until next session. Because this is the first year of a biennium in the WA State Legislature, we will pick up where we left off next year (aka we do not have to start from scratch). We send our condolences to those of you who are personally affected by this bill, and thank you for your continued support. We made some really good progress this year and will continue the fight in 2024!
HB1268: Sentencing Enhancements
(Previously HB 1169)
This bill would eliminate the requirement that a court must order multiple firearm or deadly weapons enhancements to be served consecutively and would leave it to the discretion of the court judge.
2023 UPDATE: Retroactivity has been removed from this bill by its bill sponsor. Because LMNW and The Cultural Collective at Stafford Creek do not support bills that do not include retroactivity - we will not be advocating for and supporting the passing of this bill in 2023. That being said, if you are interested in learning more about the current status and language of this bill - you can see that information here.