New Hope Act

Promote fairness, opportunity, and safety by supporting HB 1041.

New Hope Act

 

We believe that everyone deserves a second chance. After a person pays their debt to society, they should have the supports and skills necessary to reintegrate into the community.

However, it is hard – if not nearly impossible – for people to successfully re-enter society and become contributing members of their community. Long after a person has completed their sentence, their criminal record can continue to punish them, denying them opportunities for housing, employment, education, and even volunteering at their child‘s school. The effects of incarceration are far reaching, negatively impacting children and families, communities, and the economy. The New Hope Act will help change this.

Washington has long enabled people to clear convictions from their record by "vacating" them, when a person has completed their sentence and gone years without re-offending. The New Hope Act – HB 1041 – takes several important steps to reduce barriers and help people re-enter, by:

  • Improving the procedure for certifying sentence completion (i.e. obtaining a Certificate of Discharge);
  • Promoting fairness by allowing multiple misdemeanors to be vacated, just as multiple felonies can be vacated, if the specified legal requirements are satisfied; and,
  • Allowing additional felony offenses to be vacated, within the discretion of the court, when rehabilitation has been demonstrated by a lengthy period without any new offense.

On any given day in Washington, there are approximately 36,000 people living behind bars. Our state incarcerates people at the same rate as Russia and Iran. Racist policies and practices – such as the war on drugs and three strikes laws – mean that African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans are incarcerated at disproportionately high rates in comparison to their white counterparts. Communities of color bear the brunt of the collateral consequences of incarceration.

When people who have proven they can be law abiding members of society, they deserve a chance to start over. Help us make that a reality. Help us create a more just and vibrant Washington by supporting HB 1041.

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