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Criminal Justice

Court-Imposed Debts and the Poor: Reforming Policies for Legal Financial Obligations

The ACLU of Washington is working to ensure that no patient is refused access to lawful health care because of the religious doctrines of the institutions running hospitals, clinics, or other medical facilities. Health care facilities open to the general public should not refuse to provide reproductive health care and end-of-life care services; nor should they discriminate against LGBT patients and families. Read More »

ACLU Report Urges Changes in Pasco Police Policies

The ACLU-WA has issued a report calling for major reforms in Pasco police policies in order to prevent unnecessary deaths and excessive use of force. Read More »

House unanimously passes bill to end debtors’ prisons

Feb 4, 2016
The Washington House of Representatives today passed a bill (HB 1390) to end debtors’ prisons in Washington and reform our state’s system for court-imposed debts. The measure passed by a unanimous 97-0 vote. Read More »

Prosecutors Should Think Twice Before Charging Teens Who Sext

The ACLU-WA is encouraging prosecuting attorneys around the state to exercise prosecutorial discretion when considering whether to press charges in cases involving youth and the sharing of sexually-tinged photos, known as “sexting.” Read More »
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Treatment programs can arrest root causes

Too many people with mental illness and addictions end up behind bars. This isn't good for them, and it hasn't made the public any safer. Read More »

For mental illness, community resources are more effective than jail

Too many people with a mental illness end up in jail or hospital emergency rooms. What is meant to be a last resort is often the first stop for people struggling with a mental illness. Read More »
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Keeping Young People Sober and Healthy Starts by Keeping Them out of Jail

When a juvenile is caught using or sharing an illegal drug, what is the appropriate community response? Should he or she be arrested and charged with a crime, or should he or she receive public health services? Read More »
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Quiz: Washington's mental health care system crisis

Washington’s mental health care system is in crisis. What's wrong and what can we do about it? Read More »

Cash Bail Reserves Freedom for Those Who Can Pay for It

Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. But those who can’t afford cash bail must forfeit their freedom while awaiting trial. ACLU-WA asserts this unequal treatment—freedom for those with money, jail for those without— is neither fair nor effective. Read More »

ACLU Says Everett’s Panhandling Law Punishes Free Speech by Poor People

The ACLU-WA says that Everett’s revised panhandling law is unconstitutional, ineffective, and unnecessarily punitive. Instead of having criminal penalties for free speech, the City should provide social services that address the causes of homelessness. Read More »