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Published on Friday, March 24, 2017

Multiple changes proposed to the state’s criminal justice system

SB 5904 proposes numerous changes to how the state’s criminal justice system functions. The bill would result in numerous fiscal savings to the state and was included in the budget roll out. The bill has been sent to the Senate Law & Justice Committee and has not yet been scheduled for a hearing. The bill components are outlined below.

Current RCW provisions are modified regarding:

  • Crimes against vulnerable persons
  • Seriousness level of crimes
  • Driving under the influence
  • Community custody
  • Habitual property offenders
  • Identicards for persons released from custody
  • Driving while license suspended
  • Drug grid changes
  • First-time offender waiver
  • Domestic violence
  • Vacation of a record of domestic violence

The bill:

  • Creates the crimes of theft from a vulnerable adult in the first degree and second degree.
  • Creates the vulnerable adult advocacy team to coordinate a multidisciplinary process.
  • Requires the Department of Corrections (DOC) to recalculate the terms of community custody, community supervision, and community placement so they run concurrently to previously imposed sentences.
  • Creates a pilot program for the supervision of offenders convicted of felonies relating to the theft of a motor vehicle.
  • Enhances courts' discretion to more appropriately sentence habitual property offenders with significant histories of burglary and theft.
  • Requires DOC to create and implement an identicard program to provide offenders released within the state with a state-issued identicard.
  • Requires the Administrative Office of the Courts to convene a work group to address the issue of domestic violence perpetrator treatment.
  • Creates a domestic violence risk assessment work group to study how and when risk assessment can best be used to improve the response to domestic violence offenders and victims and find effective strategies to reduce domestic violence homicides, serious injuries, and recidivism.