House passes Rep. Stambaugh’s bill addressing rehabilitation and reintegration of juvenile offenders

In an 85-12 vote, the state House approved legislation Monday that would reform the way cases involving juvenile offenders are processed in the state’s juvenile justice system. House Bill 2906, sponsored by Rep. Melanie Stambaugh, would add rehabilitation and reintegration as priorities of the Juvenile Justice Act of 1977.

“The inspiration for this policy is based on the premise that young people who commit offenses are responsive to rehabilitation and have the potential to lead productive and law-abiding lives,” said Stambaugh, R-Puyallup. “Currently, 20 percent of our state’s incarcerated juveniles re-offend within 18 months. We need to actively seek ways to reduce this number in a significant way, which is the purpose of my bill. Our juvenile justice policies should combine accountability with rehabilitation opportunities in order to help these young people find a successful path forward in life.”

In addition to amending the Juvenile Justice Act, Stambaugh’s bill would:

  • Eliminate mandatory motor vehicle offense fees, but allow juveniles to be subject to electronic monitoring when necessary.
  • Increase discretion for prosecutors in determining whether to file a domestic violence offense in juvenile cases.
  • Require the court to defer a juvenile offender’s disposition when eligible, except when a juvenile offender is charged with animal cruelty.
  • Connect an offense with a correlated punishment by eliminating the requirement that courts notify the Department of Licensing and revoke a juvenile’s license after a first offense involving a firearm, drugs, or alcohol.
  • Add restorative justice programs to community-based rehabilitation for juveniles.

House Bill 2906 is supported by the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Washington Defender Association, and the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys. It now goes to the Senate for further consideration.


Washington State House Republican Communications