Check out this flyer I just read on the bulletin board:
RESTORE PAROLE IN WASHINGTON STATE
Who are we? We are former and current legislators, friends and families of former and current prisoners, survivors of crime, volunteers in the prison system, representatives of impacted organizations, and community members. We are diverse in cultural and political values, and united in our concern that our justice system be just to all parties and elevate wise compassion over vengeance.
When Washington abolished parole in 1984, it was from a sense of defeat. A belief that nothing works except to lock them up and throw away the key. We have learned a lot since then. NATIONALLY, we have reduced crime and incarceration with the help of:
* Education and other therapeutic interventions for people in prison.
* Better tools for parole boards to evaluate who is safe to release.
* More effective methods of supervising and supporting people after release.
But in Washington, we still cling to disproven “throw away the key” policies. And we pay a heavy price:
* More than 15% of people living in our prisons have life sentences. The National average is 9%.
* Almost half of the lifers are there for non-homicide crimes.
* Prisoners who are 55 years or older has nearly doubled 2001-2011.
* Our criminal justice system is one of the most racially disproportionate in the nation.
* Though crime is down, punishment continues to grow. In 2013, 139,000 Washington adults were incarcerated or under correctional supervision. Those men and women are parents to an estimated 4.5% of our children.
Today there is no process for determining when a prisoner is ready for release. That means many men and women must sit in prison for a decade or more AFTER FULL REHABILITATION is reached. This is long past the point where incarceration makes any sense. And we continue to pay for their unnecessary incarceration at an average annual cost of well over $46,000 per prisoner.
This comes at a time when we don’t even have enough money to fully fund our public schools. Our 15 prisons are full. We can’t afford to continue to house, feed, and guard people who present NO THREAT to public safety. And we can’t afford $250 million to build a new prison that’s already on the drawing board.
Research shows that we can afford to safely reduce the prison population through a parole system. A system of individual review of an individual’s behavior record, risk profile, programming in prison, and community support. The WA Coalition For Parole is working to create the opportunity for parole for those men and women who have clearly demonstrated that they’ve earned it.
WHAT WE CALL FOR
We have carefully and strategically chosen to focus on bringing back parole because:
* Parole will do more than any other reform to make our prisons safer, leaner, and more efficient by restoring hope and the motivation for change.
* Parole will save taxpayers millions of dollars that are now wasted warehousing people long after they have aged out of crime.
* Parole will allow the $250 million needed to build a new prison to be invested in the solution such as education and other social programs.
* Parole will make our community safer by determining which individuals are safe to release.
PLEASE JOIN US
Email – Info@WACoalitionForParole.org
PO Box 9971
Seattle, WA. 98109