The legislature finds that it is a goal of our state to divert juveniles who have committed status offenses, behaviors that are prohibited under law only because of an individual's status as a minor, away from the juvenile justice system because a stay in detention is a predictive factor for future criminal justice system involvement.
The legislature finds that Washington has been using the valid court order exception of the juvenile justice and delinquency prevention act, a loophole in federal law allowing judges to detain status offenders for disobeying court orders, more than any other state in the country. The legislature finds that use of the valid court order exception to detain youth for acts like truancy, breaking curfew, or running away from home is counterproductive and may worsen outcomes for at-risk youth.
The legislature further finds that these youth should not be confined with or treated with the same interventions as criminal offenders. The legislature also finds that studies show a disproportionality in race, gender, and socioeconomic status of youth referred to courts or detained, or both. Likewise, the legislature finds that community-based interventions are more effective at addressing underlying causes of status offenses than detention and can reduce court caseloads and lower system costs.
As a result, it is the intent of the legislature to strengthen and fund community-based programs that are culturally relevant and focus on addressing disproportionality of youth of color, especially at-risk youth.
The bill then proposes that the state of Washington eliminate the use of juvenile detention as a remedy for contempt of a valid court order for youth under chapters 13.34 and 28A.225 RCW and child in need of services petition youth under chapter 13.32A RCW.
As of July 20, 2019, such youth may not be committed to juvenile detention as a contempt sanction under chapter 13.32A, 13.34, or 28A.225 RCW, and a warrant may not be issued for such youth for failure to appear at a court hearing that requires commitment of such youth to juvenile detention.
It is also the policy of the state of Washington to phase out entirely the use of juvenile detention as a remedy for contempt of a valid court order for at-risk youth under chapter 28 13.32A RCW by July 1, 2021. After this date, at-risk youth may not be committed to juvenile detention as a contempt sanction under chapter 30 13.32A RCW, and a warrant may not be issued for failure to appear at a court hearing that requires commitment of the at-risk youth to juvenile detention.
Until July 1, 2021, any at-risk youth committed to juvenile detention as a sanction for contempt under chapter 13.32A RCW, or for failure to appear at a court hearing under chapter 13.32A RCW, must be detained in such a manner so that no direct communication or physical contact may be made between the youth and any youth who is detained to juvenile detention pursuant to a violation of criminal law.
Additionally, the bill states that the Department of Children, Youth, And Families must provide, if requested by the family, family reconciliation services, and report to the legislature beginning 12-1-19 on the use of such services, outcomes, and recommendations for improvement.
*Companion to HB 1434*
Updated on 4.12.19:
- Provided an exception to the requirement that juveniles who have been committed to detention as a contempt sanction to an At-Risk Youth court proceeding must be separated from juveniles detained pursuant to a criminal law violation, if that separation would result in the juvenile being placed in solitary confinement.
- Clarified the time for which an At-Risk Youth may be committed to juvenile detention as a contempt sanction as 72 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, with the 72-hour period commencing upon the next nonholiday weekday following the court order and shall run to the end of the last nonholiday weekday within the 72-hour period.
- Removed language specific to a dependent youth being considered in "contempt" if they have violated a placement order, and removes language a contempt order for a dependent youth may be entered ex-parte without prior notice.
- Changed the phase-out for the use of juvenile detention as a remedy for contempt of a valid court order for at-risk youth from July 1, 2021 to July 1, 2022.
- Added language that until July 1, 2022, prior to committing any at-risk youth to juvenile detention as a sanction for contempt or for failure to appear at a court hearing, the court must consider, on-the-record:
- The mitigating and aggravating factors used to determine the appropriateness of detention for enforcement of its order;
- Enter written findings affirming it considered all less restrictive options, that detention is the only appropriate alternative, and include its rationale and clear, cogent and convincing evidence used to enforce the order;
- Afford the same due process considerations it affords all youth in criminal contempt proceedings; and
- Seek input from all relevant parties, including the youth.
- Adds language that until July 1, 2022, detention periods for at-risk youth sanctioned to juvenile detention for contempt or for failure to appear at a court hearing shall be no more than seventy-two hours, regardless of the number of violations being considered at the hearing, and limited to one sanction, up to 72 hours, in any 30 day period.
- Expanded the annual reporting requirement to consider the written findings from the court and provide an analysis of the rationale and evidence used, and the less restrictive options considered;
- Monitor the utilization of alternatives to detention;
- Track trends in the use of at-risk youth petitions; and
- Track the race and gender of youth with at-risk petitions.
- Changed the expiration date of the expanded reporting requirements from July 1, 2022 to July 1, 2023.
- Removed the requirement that DCYF provide family reconciliation services in a timely manner if requested by the family.
House Committee Amendments (Updated on 4.12.19):
- The authority for courts to impose detention as a contempt sanction for truancy, dependency, and CHINS court proceedings is eliminated on July 1, 2019.
- The maximum period of detention allowed as a court contempt sanction for ARY court proceedings is reduced from seven days to 72 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, on July 1, 2019.
- Eliminated the use of detention as a court contempt sanction for ARY court proceedings on July 1, 2022.
Authorized courts to commit a juvenile to a secure crisis residential center or a secure program offering intensive wraparound services approved by the Department of Children, Youth, and Families following the elimination of detention as a court contempt sanction for ARY proceedings on July 1, 2022.