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Giving Voice To Our Values

Our Issues:

Washington State



Washington State Unitarian Universalist Voices for Justice
438 NE 72nd St.
Seattle, WA 98115


Washington UU Voices for Justice:           printable format
Legislative Proposal 2007
Criminal Justice/Prison Reform

Proposed by: Rev. Carol McKinley, UU Community Minister, Olympia UUC

Propose and Track the Issue of Criminal Justice and Prison Reform Per the Criteria

Washington UU Voices for Justice focused in 2005-6 legislative session on poverty. If we are to continue to work for those impoverished, the needs of these men, women, and their children affected by imprisonment must be included in UU Voices poverty work during the 2007 legislative session.

A Joint Select Committee authorized in the 2006 Legislature has been working for the past several months on issues relating to transition and reentry programs for persons leaving correctional facilities.

Impact: Issues that relate specifically to criminal justice and prison reform have an impact on the larger community. Poverty, inadequate or nonexistent available housing, and fractured families are issues faced by women and men leaving state correctional facilities and returning to their communities.

The Joint Select Committee’s task forces will be recommending legislation, in part, that addresses:
• Provision of education and vocational training programs in institutions
• Substance abuse programs in institutions and in the community
• Regulation of payday lending
• Reduction of interest on legal financial obligations (LFOs)
• Automatic restoration of civil rights with the discharge of sentence

This legislation will help individuals develop life skills that give them a better chance of successful return to their communities and families, and will address some economic and civil issues that make reentry even more difficult.

UU Voices working in coalition on several issues including Predatory Lending has a potential for success in the legislative session.

Relationship to UU Values: Our UU principles call upon us to respect the worth and dignity of all.

Opportunity for Coalition-Building: Several organizations and faith alliances are tracking legislation specific to criminal justice reform, including the Poverty Action Network, Washington State Safe Communities, the Quakers, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.