SEATTLE – On Monday night, the Washington State House of Representatives passed House Bill 1324, which updates Washington’s sentencing system and stops the practice of automatically punishing people twice for crimes they committed as children.
This change would bring Washington in line with most other states regarding the scoring of prior juvenile offenses. Eliminating the use of juvenile records to automatically give people longer sentences will reduce racial disparities, account for discoveries in developmental brain science, and stop punishing people twice by no longer counting juvenile points in adult sentencing calculations.
Dr. Chelsea Moore, smart justice policy manager for ACLU-WA, had this reaction:
“HB 1324 passing the House is a great step forward to bringing justice to our state. In Washington, youth of color are overpoliced and are thus more likely to have juvenile records than their white counterparts. The current practice of automatically giving people longer sentences because of crimes they committed as children has meant that Black and Indigenous people often receive longer sentences due to prior juvenile convictions. Misinformation and junk science have driven policy for far too long, and we need to have laws based on evidence. We are thrilled at HB 1324 is moving forward - our communities will be safer for it.”