SB 6469 states that the public has a compelling interest in the rehabilitation of former juvenile offenders and their successful reintegration into society as active, law-abiding, and contributing members of their communities. When juvenile court records are publicly available, former juvenile offenders face a substantial barrier to reintegration, as they are denied housing, employment, and education opportunities on the basis of these records.
Therefore, given the rehabilitative goals of the juvenile justice system, the scientifically documented differences between the brain development of juveniles and adults, and the differences between the structure and goals of the juvenile justice system and the adult criminal justice system, the legislature declares that it is the policy of the state of Washington that the interest in juvenile rehabilitation and reintegration constitutes compelling circumstances that outweigh the public interest in continued unlimited availability of juvenile court records.
SB 6469 limits public access to juvenile court proceedings and makes exceptions for a variety of crimes committed such as a serious violent offense (as defined in RCW 9.94A.030), assault of a child in the second degree, kidnapping in the second degree or leading organized crime.
SB 6469 requires the Administrative Office of the Courts in the development of its superior court case management system shall incorporate an efficient and cost-effective procedure for designating juvenile offender records as confidential and allowing administrative access to records that have previously been designated as confidential. Confidential juvenile offense records maintained by any court, law enforcement agency, or state agency, including the juvenile court, local law enforcement, the Washington state patrol, and the county prosecutor’s offices, may not be published, distributed, or sold.
The content of the bill will be referred to as the youth opportunities act.