Sen. Mike Carrell announced a comprehensive suite of legislation to help reform Washington State’s criminal justice system. Some of the 13 bills Carrell proposed resulted from the murder of four police officers in Carrell’s hometown of Lakewood. Others finally have taken shape after several years of work.
“These bills address problems with our prison and supervision system, problems with our local jails and problems with our criminal mental health facilities,” Carrell said. “I think it’s fair to say that the Department of Corrections has been scrambling to figure out what it can do since the Legislature made so many cuts related to corrections in 2009. Some of these bills will help restore DOC’s ability to keep the public safer.”
Carrell added that individuals tend to circulate between county jail, state prison and mental health facilities like Western State Hospital in Lakewood, and that his bills have been through the research and development process for some time. Carrell says it’s time to consider the issue from a comprehensive perspective. His bills are:
- SJR 8218 – Constitutional Amendment Restricting Bail – Would give courts the ability to deny bail to those individuals facing charges which could result in life imprisonment without possibility of parole.
- SB 5929 – Correctional Employees Firearms – Would permit properly trained correctional employees to carry firearms, without needing to obtain a concealed weapons permit.
- SB 6188 – 10 Percent Bail Bond Requirement – Would establish a minimum bond fee of 10 percent for crimes against persons, which include felony DUI, stalking, violation of a domestic-violence no-contact order, etc.
- SB 6308 – Computer and Phone Access at SCC – Would prohibit any person committed or detained at the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island from accessing a personal computer unless the resident’s treatment plan states that such access is necessary.
- SB 6309 – Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity Inheritance – Would prohibit a person found not guilty by reason of insanity in a murder case from benefiting by their action, closing a gaping loophole in state law that conceivably allows an NGRI patient to collect on a life insurance policy or inheritance after causing the death of a spouse or family member.
- SB 6310 – Guilty and Mentally Ill – A defendant who pleads not guilty by reason of insanity may instead be found “guilty and mentally ill”. The defendant will receive the same sentence that any other defendant convicted of the same crime would receive and would be committed to a secure mental health facility operated by the Department of Social and Health Services before being discharged to DOC to complete his or her sentence.
- SB 6311 – Body Armor Sentencing Enhancement – Would enhance the sentence for those who commit felonies while wearing body armor, posing a significant threat to law enforcement officers and the general public.
- SB 6313 – Bench Warrants Executed by Bail Bond Agents – Would allow courts of limited jurisdiction to enter into agreements with bail bond agencies to execute bench warrants.
- SB 6314 – Minimum Security Facilities – Would allow cities and counties to maintain minimum-security special detention facilities.
- SB 6315 – Home Detention Requirements for Community Custody Violations – Would eliminate the possibility of home detention or any other alternative to confinement for offenders who commit violations involving firearms and have a prior domestic violence conviction.
- SB 6316 – Release Information, Access to DOC Database, Local Police Arresting Authority – Would require automatic notification to DOC of the release or escape of an inmate housed in any city or county jail and is under DOC supervision. It would also provide local law enforcement real-time access to the statewide corrections Offender Management Network Information (OMNI) system which would give the ability to track offenders’ conditions of release, and provide local law enforcement the ability to detain offenders in violation of their conditions of release with or without an arrest warrant having been issued.
- SB 6317 – Assault of Police Officer – Would raise assault of a law enforcement officer with a deadly weapon, while the officer is performing his or her official duties, to a first-degree crime.
- SB 6318 – Hospital Reporting Violent Injuries – Would require hospitals to report to a local law enforcement authority, as soon as possible, patients who have experienced gunshot wounds or stab wounds, whether the patient is unconscious or not.
“Everyone is talking about reforming government to make the system smarter, more efficient and less costly, and these bills are an excellent first step toward that goal,” Carrell said. “If we’re serious about reforming government and saving taxpayers money, my bills will do that and keep the public – and those law enforcement officers charged with protecting the public – safer.”
Watch a video with more detail about these bills at Carrell’s website, www.SenateRepublicans.wa.gov/Carrell.Print This Post