Working to transform the child welfare system.


HB 2164: Relating to requiring evidence-based and research-based interventions for juvenile firearm offenders in certain circumstances

HB 2164 states that if a respondent is found to have been in possession of a firearm, the disposition must include a requirement that the respondent participate in a qualifying program, unless no such program is available. If the respondent has previously completed a qualifying program the disposition may, but does not have to, still include a requirement that the respondent participate in a qualifying program.

For the context of this bill, “qualifying program” refers to an aggression replacement training program, a functional family therapy program, or another program applicable to the juvenile firearm offender population that has been identified as evidence-based or research-based and cost beneficial in the current list prepared at the direction of the legislature by the Washington state institute for public policy.

Substitute: The circumstances are modified under which a court retains discretion to not order a juvenile adjudicated of unlawful possession of a firearm to participate in a qualifying evidence-based or research-based program. Language is removed that required the court to order participation in an available program, even upon a finding of manifest injustice, unless the juvenile had previously completed a program (in which case ordering participation would be within the court’s discretion). Instead, the court must order participation in an available program unless it makes a written finding that participation in a program would be inappropriate based on factors in the juvenile’s risk assessment other than overall risk classification.

Human Services and Corrections Committee Amendment:  As amended, the Caseload Forecast Council may share information with the Administrative Office of the Courts and other agencies to assist them in gathering data for research purposes so long as the anonymity of persons named in the records is preserved. Language is removed that prohibits the judge from considering the juvenile’s risk assessment in determining whether to refer the juvenile to a qualifying program.

Final Bill:  As passed by the legislature the bill does the following:

  • Requires most juveniles adjudicated of unlawful possession of a firearm to participate in certain evidence-based or research-based programs, unless no appropriate qualifying program is available.
  • Provides that juveniles adjudicated of firearms crimes who meet eligibility requirements may participate in evidence-based parole programming.
  • Requires the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration of the Department of Social and Health Services to compile and analyze historical data regarding juvenile firearm offenders and report its findings to the Legislature.