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FAMM releases statement on passage of bill to improve sentencing in Washington
OLYMPIA – FAMM’s Deputy Director of Policy Daniel Landsman released the following statement after the Washington House of Representatives passed a bill that would change juvenile sentencing policy in the state.
The bill ends the use of juvenile adjudications to automatically enhance a person’s sentence in the adult system. Under this bill, judges would still have discretion to consider juvenile history at sentencing.
“By using juvenile adjudications to automatically enhance sentences in adult courts, Washington essentially punishes people twice for mistakes they made as kids,” Landsman said. “There is a separate system of justice for children for a reason – kids are different. Washington’s law ignores that science and the result has hurt public safety and disproportionately harmed communities of color.”
Washington is one of a small minority of states that automatically enhance sentences in the adult system based on juvenile convictions. Washingtonians of color, particularly Black and Indigenous people, are disproportionately impacted by this law.
For more than three decades, FAMM has united the voices of affected families, the formerly incarcerated, and a range of stakeholders and advocates to fight for a more fair and effective justice system. FAMM has led the fight to reform extreme mandatory sentencing laws and to promote rehabilitation and dignity for all people in prison, 94 percent of whom will return to our neighborhoods one day.
FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safely reduce incarceration, save taxpayer dollars, and keep families together. Founded in 1991, FAMM has secured bold sentencing and prison reform across the country while elevating the voices of directly impacted individuals and families.