Working to transform the child welfare system.

HB 1646: Concerning confinement in juvenile rehabilitation facilities

The legislature recognizes state and national efforts to reform policies that incarcerate youth in the adult criminal justice system and acknowledges that transferring youth to the adult criminal justice system is not effective in reducing future criminal behavior.

Youth incarcerated in the adult criminal justice system are more likely to recidivate than their counterparts housed in juvenile facilities.  The legislature intends to enhance community safety by emphasizing rehabilitation of juveniles convicted even of the most serious violent offenses under the adult criminal justice system.

 Juveniles adjudicated as adults should be served and housed within the facilities of the juvenile rehabilitation administration up until age twenty-five but released earlier if their sentence ends prior. Emphasis on rehabilitation up to age twenty-five reflects similar programming in other states, which has significantly reduced recidivism of juveniles confined in adult correctional facilities.

 The bill amends previous RCW such that any individual up to age 18 who is convicted of a felony and committed to terms of confinement is initially placed in a facility operated by DCYF and that DOC will determine earned release date. Further, the bill proposes a variety of changes related to the adjudication of juvenile offenders and placement in juvenile (rather than adult) detention up t, but not beyond the age of 25.

WSSIP must assess the impact of this act on community safety, racial disproportionality, and youth rehabilitation and submit a report to the governor and the appropriate committees of the legislature by December 1, 2024

 *Companion bill: SB 5737*


Updated on 4.12.19:

1st substitute:

  • Requires the DOC to transfer an individual under age 18 convicted as an adult of a felony to the custody of the DCYF until the individual completes the ordered term of confinement or reaches the maximum age of juvenile court confinement for individuals whose earned release date is before the individual’s twenty-fifth birthday.
  • Allows for the DOC to retain an individual under age 18 convicted as an adult of a felony in a facility or institution operated by the DCYF until the individual reaches the maximum age of juvenile court confinement for individuals whose earned release data is after the individual’s twenty-fifth birthday.
  • Modifies the WSIPP assessment of the act to include this assessment with the assessment currently required for Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 6160 (2018), requiring a preliminary report due by December 1, 2023, and a final report due December 1, 2031.

2nd substitute:

  • The Appropriations Committee added a null and void clause.

Senate Commttee Amendments (Updated on 4.12.19):

  • Clarified that DOC is not required to maintain authority over a person who is transferred to electronic home monitoring by DCYF under DCYF to serve the balance of their sentence before their twenty-sixth birthday.
  • Removed increase of juvenile court jurisdiction until age twenty-five for specified offenses when adjudicated in juvenile court.
  • Specified that the comprehensive plan for the education of students in JR must be created by OSPI in collaboration with DCYF and extends the due date until September 1, 2020.

Expanded WSIPP report to include a cost-benefit analysis, including health and recidivism effects, of increasing confinement in JR to include persons sentenced in adult court for offenses committed under the age of twenty-one.