By Dan Thesman
Gov. Jay Inslee was joined today by a bipartisan group of state leaders to sign an executive order launching a comprehensive study of the state’s criminal justice system that will identify ways to address growing pressures on the prison system and boost public safety. The executive order establishes an inter-branch, bipartisan Justice Reinvestment Task Force to guide the study.
Washington’s corrections facilities now operate at 2 percent over capacity. That number is expected to swell by 9 percent between 2013 and 2023. This projected prison population growth would require between $387 million and $481 million in construction and operating expenses.
The task force comprises 21 representatives from the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, in addition to key state and local criminal justice stakeholders. The task force will be led by Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam and Nick Brown, Inslee’s general counsel. The Council of State Governments Justice Center, in partnership with The Pew Charitable Trusts and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, will provide technical assistance to the task force.
The task force will reach out to a broad range of interested groups on the state and county level, including superior court judges, prosecuting attorneys, public defenders, parole board members, law enforcement officials, victims and community treatment providers.
Information about the Justice Reinvestment Task Force is available at www.governor.wa.gov/issues/reform/justice/default.aspx. To learn more about Justice Reinvestment in Washington and other states, please visit www.csgjusticecenter.org/jr/wa.