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Washington State Institute for Public Policy

Effectiveness of the drug offender sentencing alternative (DOSA)

The 2020 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to evaluate the effectiveness of the drug offender sentencing alternative (DOSA). DOSA allows individuals to participate in treatment and community supervision in lieu of some (Prison DOSA) or all (Residential DOSA) of their incarceration sentence. This evaluation will examine whether participation in DOSA reduces recidivism and whether those effects vary for prison- and residential-based DOSA programs. The legislature directed WSIPP to repeat these evaluations on a regular schedule to continuously monitor the effects of the program.

An initial evaluation report is due to the governor and the legislature by November 1, 2022. Additional evaluation reports are due to the governor and the legislature on November 1, 2028, and every five years thereafter.
Lauren Knoth, (360) 664-9805 View Legislation

Legal Financial Obligations

In Washington, whenever a person is convicted in superior court, the court may order the payment of a legal financial obligation (LFO) as part of the sentence. The 2021 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to study legal financial obligations in Washington State. WSIPP’s reports must explore the following:

  • Over the past three years, the amount of legal and financial obligations imposed; the total amounts outstanding and the total amounts collected annually, including annual collection rates; including all restitution, costs, fees, fines, penalty assessments, and interest, disaggregated;
  • Which statutes allow for the imposition of legal and financial obligations;
  • What percentage of a court’s budget has been supported by legal and financial obligations since the system’s inception;
  • The programs funded by legal financial obligations; and
  • How do other states fund their court system including, but not limited to, whether they use legal financial obligations to provide support;

A preliminary report is due to the legislature by December 1, 2021, with a final report due December 1, 2022.

Devin Bales, (360) 664-9808 View Legislation

Creating Prison to Postsecondary Education Pathways

The 2021 Legislature passed 2SHB 1044 expanding the types of postsecondary education programs eligible for state funding in the Department of Corrections’ (DOC) incarceration facilities. The bill directs WSIPP to study recidivism, enrollment, and completion rates of incarcerated persons in the postsecondary education system after release from incarceration. The study will use data from DOC, the Washington Student Achievement Council, and the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges. The study must include the following:

  • Patterns and effects on post-release enrollment and participation in the community and technical college sector by individuals who, while incarcerated, participated in postsecondary education;
  • Differential outcomes for individuals participating in different types of postsecondary education courses, certificates, and degree programs;
  • Changes in enrollment and completion of postsecondary education courses, certificate programs, and degree programs due to the expansion in postsecondary education programming; and
  • Recidivism outcomes other than incarceration for those individuals who participated in postsecondary education while incarcerated.

A preliminary report is due to the Legislature on October 1, 2024, and a final report is due October 1, 2027.

Lauren Knoth, (360) 664-9805 View Legislation

Validation of the Washington ONE Dynamic Risk Assessment

In 2021, WSIPP’s Board of Directors approved a contract with the Department of Corrections (DOC) to validate the DOC’s Washington ONE dynamic risk assessment instrument. The purpose of the study is to examine different components of the Washington ONE and to validate the predictive validity of the instrument for demographic subgroups. The study will assess the relative frequency of risk level classifications for the incarcerated populations, the distributions of actual risk scores, varying risk and need characteristics by risk group, and the probability of recidivism by risk level classification. The analyses will examine differences in the outcomes by gender and race as well as changes in risk level classifications for those who have completed multiple assessments. Finally, the report will include an overview of different classification methods for correctional risk assessment instruments.

A preliminary report is due to the Department of Corrections on October 31, 2021.

Lauren Knoth, (360) 664-9805

Evaluation of the Reentry Community Services Program

The 2021 Legislature passed E2SSB 5304 which modified the state’s Reentry Community Services (RCS) program. The bill includes an assignment for WSIPP to update its evaluation of the RCS program and to broaden its benefit-cost analysis to include impacts on the use of public services and other factors. In addition, the bill directs WSIPP to examine the potential cost, benefit, and risks involved in expanding or replicating the RCS program. Finally, the bill asks WSIPP to examine what modifications to the program are most likely to improve outcomes associated with program participation based on current knowledge about evidence-based, research-based, and promising programs. WSIPP will consult with the Reentry Services Work Group (administered by the Health Care Association) in 2022 to determine any additional research parameters for the final report.

A preliminary report is due to the Legislature on July 1, 2022, and a final report is due November 1, 2023.

Lauren Knoth, (360) 664-9805 View Legislation

Operation Net Nanny and Other Fictitious Victim Sting Operations

The 2021 Legislature directed WSIPP to examine Washington State’s Operation Net Nanny and similar fictitious victim sting operations. Operation Net Nanny is a collaborative undercover operation that includes local, state, and federal law enforcement targeting the arrest and prosecution of individuals involved in child abuse and exploitation using the Internet by using a fictitious victim. The study must include the following:

  • A description of the current research on fictitious victim sting operations, including evidence of their effectiveness in deterring or reducing crime, their costs, and potential advantages or drawbacks of their use in crime prevention; and
  • A comparison of the characteristics of individuals convicted as a result of Washington’s Operation Net Nanny stings with individuals convicted in Washington State of similar offenses who were not a part of Operation Net Nanny.

A final report was originally due to the Legislature by June 30, 2022. In June 2021, the WSIPP Board of Directors voted to shift the deadline to December 1, 2022.

Lauren Knoth, (360) 664-9805 View Legislation

Review of Research on Mandatory Arrest in Domestic Violence Cases

The 2021 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to conduct a systematic review of the research literature on mandatory arrest in domestic violence cases. If possible, the study shall report the effects of mandatory arrest on domestic violence recidivism, general recidivism, domestic violence reporting, rates of domestic violence treatment, intimate partner homicide, or other reported outcomes. If possible, the study shall also report the research on alternatives to mandatory arrest.

The review will be distributed to the legislature by June 30, 2022.
Marna Miller, (360) 664-9086 View Legislation

Exclusive Adult Jurisdiction

The 2018 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to assess the impact of changes to the Juvenile Justice Act (JJA), as outlined in E2SSB 6160. To the extent possible, the study should include impacts to community safety, racial disproportionality, recidivism, state expenditures, and youth rehabilitation.

The 2019 Legislature amended WSIPP’s assignment to include an assessment of additional components contained in Sections 2-6 of E2SHB 1646. WSIPP must also conduct a benefit-cost analysis which includes the health impacts and recidivism effects of extending the JJA to include all offenses committed under the age of twenty-one.

A preliminary report is due to the legislature by December 1, 2023 with a final report due December 1, 2031.
Paige Wanner, (360) 664-9078 View Legislation

Standardized Juvenile Court Assessment Tool Evaluation

The 2021 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to review the standardized juvenile court assessment tool to determine if the eligibility criteria for juvenile rehabilitation programs are appropriate and accurately assign youth to programs that meet their needs. This study will evaluate differences in program effectiveness based on scales and classifications of risk and need. The legislature directed WSIPP to work in collaboration with the juvenile block grant proviso committee.

The final report is due June 30, 2022.
Amani Rashid, (360) 664-9804 View Legislation