Ensuring Social Justice
Criminal Justice

Ensure equality of opportunity, prevent and reduce poverty and promote fair policies for all struggling to realize their human potential.


Issue Team Chair: Deb Carstens, dcarstens@lwvwa.org(206) 295-9529
DOWNLOAD the Criminal Justice Issue Paper
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2020 Legislative Session Expectations

(Interested in the 2019 Session Recap? Click Here)

This year we will continue to support efforts to make our criminal justice system more equitable at each step of the process, beginning with arrest/pretrial detention, to sentencing and prison, and then to re-entry into society following release from prison. Particular areas of interest include (1) addressing the criminalization of poverty, (2) abolishing capital punishment, and (3) expanding the right to vote for people who have been convicted of felonies. We will also focus on issues surrounding the juvenile justice system, such as the push to limit or end juvenile solitary confinement.

Click on Bill # for detailed information.  See UPDATES below.

Bills the League Supports

  • HB 2292 / SB 6228 Automatically restores voting rights for people who are no longer in prison regardless of whether they have completed their term of community custody (parole) or paid their financial obligations. UPDATE: There will be a hearing on SB 6228 in the State Government, Trial Relations & Elections Committee at 8:00 a.m. on January 22, and it’s scheduled for Executive Session at 10:00 a.m. on January 24. 
  • SB 5339  Abolishes capital punishment in response to the 2018 Washington State Supreme Court in State v. Gregory holding that the death penalty is racially biased and unconstitutional.   UPDATE: The bill has been placed on third reading by the Senate Rules Committee.

Bills the League is Watching

  • HB 2220  Specifies the circumstances under which a school may deny the volunteer application of a parent or guardian who has been convicted of a crime and describes the process the school must use to determine whether a criminal conviction is grounds to deny a volunteer application. UPDATE: HB 2220 received a public hearing in the Education Committee on January 13, and it is scheduled for Executive Session at 8:00 on January 23.

  • HB 2277 / SB 6112  Prohibits the use of solitary confinement for juveniles. UPDATE:  HB 2277 is scheduled for Executive Session in the Human Services and Early Learning Committee at 8:00 a.m. on January 24.
  • HB 1282 / SB 5328 Reforms the law criminalizing Driving While License Suspended in the Third Degree (DWLS3), which generally involves driving with a license that has been suspended for secondary reasons such as failure to pay a fine or appear in court. Currently, DWLS3 is the most commonly charged crime in Washington and disproportionately impacts poor people, young people, and people of color.

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