Case Support

Expanding Washington’s Prison Sentencing Alternatives for Parents

“Our love goes beyond bars.”

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

 

 

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.

 

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 read our policy report  on this issue.

 

IPP needs your help!  We are one step closer to expanding prison alternatives for parents.

Washington’s prison 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 sentencing alternatives for parents so that more parents, including those serving sentences for violent crimes, can be successfully reunified with their children in the community.    This year, the proposed expansion legislation is 2ESSB 5291.  It has passed the Senate with some improvements and  some setbacks.  This bill is currently being reviewed for consideration by the House Public Safety Committee.

For more information on the bill’s progress click here

 

ACTION STEP:  Please join us in calling for further amendment to this necessary and important progressive change for families:

By calling the House Public Safety Committee members at the Legislature’s HOTLINE at:

                                      1-800-562-6000 (TTY for Hearing Impaired 800.833.6388)

Or, by emailing the House Public Safety Committee members

 

[Here is a proposed message below:

Please amend 2ESSB 5291 to eliminate the roll back on the prison-based option.  Parents with prior convictions for violent crimes already qualify and have been successful on this prison-based alternative option.   Many people serving sentences for violent crimes are actively parenting from prison.  Parents with prior violent offense convictions have been successful without regard for their risk assessment level.  Please also eliminate the requirement that to apply for this prison alternative a parent who has served all but one year of her or his prison sentence for a violent crimes must be at low risk to re-offend in order to have a supportive reunification with her or his own child(ren).  Reunifying parents with support, even those convicted of violent crimes improves the likelihood of successful child-parent reunification and improves public safety.  It is counterproductive to leave parents in prison or to send parents to prison who would otherwise be good candidates to serve their final 12 months of imprisonment on electronic home monitoring while completing a successful parenting program.]