Case Support

Expanding Washington’s Prison Sentencing Alternatives for Parents

Caption: A mother parenting and serving time for a violent crime with her son at the Washington
Corrections Center for Women holiday event. Photo Credit: Maria Bryk Photography.

“Our love goes beyond bars.”

-T.Q. and M.L, Mothers at Washington Corrections Center for Women


WDA’s IPP supports expanding sentencing alternatives for parents

Washington’s sentencing alternatives for parents have proven to be effective in supporting successful reunification of families, however, the majority of parents in our system are not eligible for the alternatives under the current law. Many of these parents would benefit from the intensive parenting curriculum and other supports provided by the alternatives to strengthen their familial relationships and reduce their likelihood of returning to prison.

WDA is in favor of expanding Washington’s sentencing alternatives so that more parents can be successfully reunified with their children in the community. Specifically, WDA is prioritizing the inclusion of non-custodial caregivers as well as more parents with violent criminal history. Additionally, WDA is advocating for the removal of categorical barriers for non-citizen parents and incarcerated parents whose children are legally free and languishing.

Please see our policy report  on this issue.

In the 2020 legislative session, the two programs that provide an alternative to prison sentences were expanded.  Please see the bill that became law, and a comparison chart for each program:

court-based option  aka Parenting Sentencing Alternative (formerly “FOSA”)

prison-based option  aka Community Parenting Alternative (“CPA”)


For more information on the Washington State Department of Corrections programs click here.