Letter from the CLO and BPC (Monroe)

By | February 25, 2019

The Concerned Lifers Organization and the Black Prisoners Caucus (Monroe) support moving forward with this legislation and would make the following requests of our advocates: 

  •  We ask that those not included in this legislation not be forgotten and that all advocates commit to this cause and clearly state that they will continue to advocate until we     have review for everyone. 
  • We ask that the coalition continue to fight for amendments to the bill that would expand review eligibility, specifically to emerging adults. 
  • We ask that provisions be put in the bill to continue to study the issues around review and language be adopted that leaves the door open for expanding the review process. 

ToAll the advocates fighting for a comprehensive parole process in Washington State

FromThe Concerned Lifers Organization and The Black Prisoners Caucus (Monroe)

Hello and thank you for your commitment and courage on this issue. 

We obviously are discouraged by the fact that this bill cut out some prisoners. We have had numerous discussions in the last couple of days, and it is the consensus of all (most vocally from those who have aggravated murder convictions) that we must support this bill. To oppose something that would impact so many when we have made so much progress would be inconsistent with our principals.

We would like the coalition to make clear that this fight is not over and that everyone will continue to advocate for this issue until we have legislation that addresses everyone. This means that people on the outside continue to work even after their loved ones have received relief, and the folks on the inside who get out as a result of the work done become advocates for those left behind.

We think it should be noted that many of those who have worked the hardest on this legislation from the inside are the ones who are saying that they are willing to set aside their own needs for relief to support this bill. This should not be forgotten. 

We would like to continue to find ways to amend this bill and would make the following suggestions:

  • As the bill addresses the issue of juveniles we still think that there is a possibility (although maybe slim) to get the language from Rep. Frame’s draft amended into this legislation. We ask that you advocate for language in the bill that raises the age for the juvenile review process to those convicted under the age of 25. (See Rep. Frame’s bill draft H 1457.1/19) 
  • This wouldn’t address everyone but it would be a step in the right direction. 

We would like to immediately develop a strategy for getting a comprehensive geriatric bill passed. A couple of ideas:  

  • As this bill has provisions for review after 60, add language to this bill to create a study of those released through this process as a precursor to expanding this provision to include all.
  • Put out information from DRW and others to make clear to support groups that this bill may be a step in the right direction but it does not solve the tremendous challenges facing WA as the prison population ages.  
  • Put in amended language to create a study to look at WA aging prison population and develop solutions.

We would like to point out that this bill has some great points and we as a group are excited to have made the progress we have. We also think that this bill opens up the possibility to look at other issues that we may be able to explore to get relief for everyone. (New study on racial disproportionality in Ag. Murder?)

We also want to thank you all for your work in this field and we hope you will continue to stand with us on these critical issues as we work for comprehensive sentence reform in WA state. 

The CLO and BPC 

Carol Estes
Prison Voice Washington
206-276-9128