Rainier Valley Cultural Center
“The Legislative Environment”
Representative Roger Goodman
Chair, House Public Safety Committee
Member House Judiciary Committee
Please email us for details on potential rideshares and accommodations for children.
More than one in seven 7 people in Washington State prisons is serving a life sentence. Many more are serving terms so long: 20, 30, or even 100 years that they too have essentially been sentenced to die in prison.
Washington’s rate of life sentences is historically and internationally unprecedented. Between 2001 and 2011 alone, the number of people 55 years old and older in our state prisons has almost doubled. The racial disproportionality that pervades Washington’s criminal justice system is just as severe with our lifer population. Public safety does not justify this. According to a recent Academy of Sciences report, increasingly long sentences are a primary cause of mass incarceration since the 1990s and ineffective at reducing crime.
Nevertheless, and despite the multibillion-dollar prison building boom that Washington State taxpayers have funded since we abolished parole in 1981, most lawmakers will not consider any bill supporting form of review for people serving life sentence.
Join us in working toward bringing Washington’s policies in line with international human rights standards and the evidence of “what works” to reduce crime. Join us in working to demand that every person in prison has meaningful opportunities for rehabilitation and a chance to have his or her sentence reviewed to determine whether there is any justice or public safety cause to continue it.
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