Criminal Justice

What's New

Private Prisons and the Public Interest: Improving Quality and Reducing Cost through Competition

February 15, 2003 in Publications

The primary function of government is to protect the lives, liberty and property of its citizens. Public safety is thus essential to the continuance of civil society. Public safety depends on a reliable and effective criminal justice system, and central to the administration of justice is a humane, secure and efficient prison system.

State Should Not Release 1,900 Criminals

in Press releases

Seattle - In response to a request from Governor Locke to find 15 percent in budget savings the state Department of Corrections suggested releasing 1,900 inmates back onto the streets. A recent study by Washington Policy Center shows this drastic measure is not necessary. "Private Prisons: A Sensible Solution," explains how competitive contracting can be used to reduce cost and increase quality in the state prison system which would avoid resorting to early release of criminals.

Private Prisons: A Sensible Solution

August 17, 2001 in Publications

The prison system in Washington state is being severely stretched by overcrowding, threatening the safety of the staff, the inmates and the surrounding communities. State run facilities average 141% of design capacity, housing over 4,800 more prisoners than originally planned. At the local level, city and county jails throughout the state are at 110% of design capacity.

Private Prisons: A Sensible Solution

August 8, 2001 in Publications

The prison system in Washington state is being severely stretched by overcrowding, threatening the safety of the staff, the inmates and the surrounding communities. State run facilities average 141% of design capacity, housing more than 4,800 more prisoners than originally planned. At the local level, city and county jails throughout the state are at 110% of design capacity.

New Study Finds Private Prisons Increase Quality and Reduce Cost

in Press releases

Seattle -- A new study by the Washington Policy Center found that the prison system in Washington state is being severely stretched by overcrowding, threatening the safety of the staff, the inmates and the surrounding communities. State run facilities average 141% of design capacity, housing over 4,800 more prisoners than originally planned. At the local level, city and county jails throughout the state are at 110% of design capacity.

Private Prisons: A Sensible Solution

August 2, 2001 in Publications

The prison system in Washington state is being severely stretched by overcrowding, threatening the safety of the staff, the inmates and the surrounding communities. Without new prisons, law enforcement officials will be forced to make difficult decisions about which dangerous criminals should be incarcerated and which should be allowed back onto the street. Unfortunately, because of tight budgets and other pressing needs, building enough government run prisons to safely hold the increasing inmate population is not financially feasible.

The Three-Strikes Law Works

March 3, 2001 in Publications

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer recently ran a long article criticizing Washington's "Three Strikes, You're Out" law because African Americans are a much smaller percentage of the state population than the proportion of those who "strike out." George Bridges, a University of Washington sociologist, called the data "very disturbing" and claimed "that minorities, particularly blacks, are overrepresented."

Read the full Policy Note here

License Suspended? Or Driving Suspended?

January 18, 1999 in Publications

Cindy Horton, a family practice doctor living in Wenatchee, was returning from a family Easter gathering when it happened. Somewhat queasy due to her pregnancy, she was lying on the back seat while her husband drove. Suddenly he shouted in alarm and an instant later a tremendous impact forced their vehicle off the road. As it rolled down an embankment, Dr. Horton was thrown out, ending up pinned beneath the vehicle at the edge of the river. Though fearful the car might slide in and drag her under, rescuers had to wait 45 minutes for a tow truck before freeing her. Fortunately, Dr. Horton survived her injuries and gave birth to a healthy baby.

Juvenile Justice Reform: HB 3900 and Beyond

December 31, 1997 in Publications

Washington State developed its first juvenile justice system in 1913. Under the law, courts had wide latitude in dealing with juvenile offenders because there were no statewide sentencing standards. Sentencing was based more on the welfare of the child than the concepts of guilt or innocence.

Hard Time For Armed Crime: The Most Significant Criminal Justice Measure of the 1990's

June 30, 1997 in Publications

After the success of "Three Strikes, You're Out," which targeted career criminals, efforts to reform Washington's criminal justice system turned to the violent crimes which have the greatest risk of physical injury to victims. The result was "Hard Time for Armed Crime," enacted by the legislature in 1995. A recent report by the Washington Institute Foundation summarized the new law and noted areas for additional review.