Chapter 9.94A RCW
(1) A sentencing guidelines commission is established as an agency of state government.
(2) The commission shall, following a public hearing or hearings:
(a) Devise a system of recommended standard sentence ranges for all felony offenses and a system of determining which range of punishment applies to each offender based on the extent and nature of the offender’s criminal history, if any;
(b) Devise recommended prosecuting standards in respect to charging of offenses and plea agreements;
(c) Devise recommended standards to govern whether sentences are to be served consecutively or concurrently.
(3) Each of the commission’s recommended standard sentence ranges shall include one or more of the following: Total confinement, partial confinement, community supervision, community service, and a fine.
(4) In devising the standard sentence ranges of total and partial confinement under this section, the commission is subject to the following limitations:
(a) If the maximum term in the range is one year or less, the minimum term in the range shall be no less than one third of the maximum term in the range except that if the maximum term in the range is ninety days or less, the minimum term may be less than one third of the maximum;
(b) If the maximum term in the range is greater than one year, the minimum term in the range shall be no less than seventy five percent of the maximum term in the range; and
(c) The maximum term of confinement in a range may not exceed the statutory maximum for the crime as provided in RCW 9A.20.020.
(5) In carrying out its duties under subsection (2) of this section, the commission shall give consideration to the existing guidelines adopted by the association of superior court judges and the Washington association of prosecuting attorneys and the expertise gained through use of those guidelines. The commission shall emphasize confinement for the violent offender and alternatives to total confinement for the nonviolent offender.
(6) This commission shall conduct a study to determine the capacity of correctional facilities and programs which are or will be available. While the commission need not consider such capacity in arriving at its recommendations, the commission shall project whether the implementation of its recommendations would result in exceeding such capacity. If the commission finds that this result would probably occur, then the commission shall prepare an additional list of standard sentences which shall be consistent with such capacity.
(7) The commission may recommend to the legislature revisions or modifications to the standard sentence ranges and other standards. If implementation of the revisions or modifications would result in exceeding the capacity of correctional facilities, then the commission shall accompany its recommendation with an additional list of standard sentence ranges which are consistent with correction capacity.
(8) The commission shall study the existing criminal code and from time to time make recommendations to the legislature for modification.
(9) The commission may (a) serve as a clearinghouse and information center for the collection, preparation, analysis, and dissemination of information on state and local sentencing practices; (b) develop and maintain a computerized sentencing information system by individual superior court judge consisting of offender, offense, history, and sentence information entered from judgment and sentence forms for all adult felons; and (c) conduct ongoing research regarding sentencing guidelines, use of total confinement and alternatives to total confinement, plea bargaining, and other matters relating to the improvement of the criminal justice system.
(10) The staff and executive officer of the commission may provide staffing and services to the juvenile disposition standards commission, if authorized by RCW 13.40.025 and 13.40.027. The commission may conduct joint meetings with the juvenile disposition standards commission.
(11) The commission shall exercise its duties under this section in conformity with chapter 34.05 RCW.
[1994 c 87 § 1; 1986 c 257 § 18; 1982 c 192 § 2; 1981 c 137 § 4. Recodified in 2001 as RCW 9.94A.850.]
Severability -- 1986 c 257: See note following RCW 9A.56.010.
Effective date -- 1986 c 257 §§ 17-35: See note following RCW 9.94A.030.
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