By Juan Morfin
Washington State Journal
Incarcerated individuals who serve 15, 20, or 25 years of total confinement would have the opportunity to apply for a conditional commutation under a bill passed by the Washington State Senate and now being considered in the House.
“This bill would establish a system in which individuals who have reformed themselves over many years could be released to community custody,” said state Sen. Manka Dhingra, a sponsor of this bill. “This is not about pardons. This is about recognizing that people change.”
If approved, appeals would be heard by the state Clemency and Pardons Board. Ultimately, it will be up to the governor to approve or deny these petitions.
Some Republicans opposed to the bill said it allows people like Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer, to get out of jail. For that to happen, the Pardons and Clemency Board and the governor would have to approve the release.
State Sen. Joe Nguyen said, “I don’t know of that particular case in terms of the Green River Killer, but I think there are other individuals where we believe it would be safe being able to have them in our communities again.”
The bill was approved by the Senate on a party-line vote, and now is under consideration by the House Public Safety Committee.
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