Chapter 9.94A RCW
(1) A sentencing guidelines commission is established as an agency of state government.
(2) The legislature finds that the commission, having accomplished its original statutory directive to implement this chapter, and having expertise in sentencing practice and policies, shall:
(a) Evaluate state sentencing policy, to include whether the sentencing ranges and standards are consistent with and further:
(i) The purposes of this chapter as defined in RCW 9.94A.010; and
(ii) The intent of the legislature to emphasize confinement for the violent offender and alternatives to confinement for the nonviolent offender.
The commission shall provide the governor and the legislature with its evaluation and recommendations under this subsection not later than December 1, 1996, and every two years thereafter;
(b) Recommend to the legislature revisions or modifications to the standard sentence ranges, state sentencing policy, prosecuting standards, 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;
(c) Study the existing criminal code and from time to time make recommendations to the legislature for modification;
(d)(i) Serve as a clearinghouse and information center for the collection, preparation, analysis, and dissemination of information on state and local adult and juvenile sentencing practices; (ii) develop and maintain a computerized adult and juvenile 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 (iii) conduct ongoing research regarding adult and juvenile sentencing guidelines, use of total confinement and alternatives to total confinement, plea bargaining, and other matters relating to the improvement of the adult criminal justice system and the juvenile justice system;
(e) Assume the powers and duties of the juvenile disposition standards commission after June 30, 1996;
(f) Evaluate the effectiveness of existing disposition standards and related statutes in implementing policies set forth in RCW 13.40.010 generally, specifically review the guidelines relating to the confinement of minor and first-time offenders as well as the use of diversion, and review the application of current and proposed juvenile sentencing standards and guidelines for potential adverse impacts on the sentencing outcomes of racial and ethnic minority youth;
(g) Solicit the comments and suggestions of the juvenile justice community concerning disposition standards, and make recommendations to the legislature regarding revisions or modifications of the standards. The evaluations shall be submitted to the legislature on December 1 of each odd-numbered year. The department of social and health services shall provide the commission with available data concerning the implementation of the disposition standards and related statutes and their effect on the performance of the department's responsibilities relating to juvenile offenders, and with recommendations for modification of the disposition standards. The administrative office of the courts shall provide the commission with available data on diversion, including the use of youth court programs, and dispositions of juvenile offenders under chapter 13.40 RCW; and
(h) Not later than December 1, 1997, and at least every two years thereafter, based on available information, report to the governor and the legislature on:
(i) Racial disproportionality in juvenile and adult sentencing, and, if available, the impact that diversions, such as youth courts, have on racial disproportionality in juvenile prosecution, adjudication, and sentencing;
(ii) The capacity of state and local juvenile and adult facilities and resources; and
(iii) Recidivism information on adult and juvenile offenders.
(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 restitution, and a fine.
(4) The standard sentence ranges of total and partial confinement under this chapter, except as provided in RCW 9.94A.517, are 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, except that for murder in the second degree in seriousness level XIV under RCW 9.94A.510, the minimum term in the range shall be no less than fifty 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.20.021.
(5)(a) Not later than December 31, 1999, the commission shall propose to the legislature the initial community custody ranges to be included in sentences under RCW 9.94A.715 for crimes committed on or after July 1, 2000. Not later than December 31 of each year, the commission may propose modifications to the ranges. The ranges shall be based on the principles in RCW 9.94A.010, and shall take into account the funds available to the department for community custody. The minimum term in each range shall not be less than one-half of the maximum term.
(b) The legislature may, by enactment of a legislative bill, adopt or modify the community custody ranges proposed by the commission. If the legislature fails to adopt or modify the initial ranges in its next regular session after they are proposed, the proposed ranges shall take effect without legislative approval for crimes committed on or after July 1, 2000.
(c) When the commission proposes modifications to ranges pursuant to this subsection, the legislature may, by enactment of a bill, adopt or modify the ranges proposed by the commission for crimes committed on or after July 1 of the year after they were proposed. Unless the legislature adopts or modifies the commission's proposal in its next regular session, the proposed ranges shall not take effect.
(6) The commission shall exercise its duties under this section in conformity with chapter 34.05 RCW.
[2005 c 282 § 19; 2003 c 379 § 10; 2002 c 290 § 22; 2002 c 237 § 16; 2002 c 175 § 16; 2000 c 28 § 41. Prior: 1999 c 352 § 1; 1999 c 196 § 3; prior: 1997 c 365 § 2; 1997 c 338 § 3; 1996 c 232 § 1; 1995 c 269 § 303; 1994 c 87 § 1; 1986 c 257 § 18; 1982 c 192 § 2; 1981 c 137 § 4. Formerly RCW 9.94A.040.]
Severability -- 2003 c 379: "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [2003 c 379 § 28.]
Effective date -- 2003 c 379: "Sections 1 through 12, 20, and 28 of this act are necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and take effect July 1, 2003." [2003 c 379 § 29.]
Effective date -- 2002 c 290 §§ 7-11 and 14-23: See note following RCW 9.94A.515.
Intent -- 2002 c 290: See note following RCW 9.94A.517.
Effective date -- 2002 c 175: See note following RCW 7.80.130.
Technical correction bill -- 2000 c 28: See note following RCW 9.94A.015.
Construction -- Short title -- 1999 c 196: See RCW 72.09.904 and 72.09.905.
Severability -- 1999 c 196: See note following RCW 9.94A.010.
Finding -- Evaluation -- Report -- 1997 c 338: See note following RCW 13.40.0357.
Severability -- Effective dates -- 1997 c 338: See notes following RCW 5.60.060.
Effective dates -- 1996 c 232: "(1) Sections 1 through 8 of this act are necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and take effect immediately [March 28, 1996].
(2) Section 9 of this act takes effect July 1, 1996." [1996 c 232 § 12.]
Effective date -- 1995 c 269: "Sections 101, 201, 302, 303, 401, 402, 501 through 505, 601, 701, 801, 901, 1001, 1101, 1201 through 1203, 1301, 1302, 1401 through 1407, 1501, 1601, 1701, 1801, 1901, 1902, 2001, 2101, 2102, 2201 through 2204, 2301, 2302, 2401, 2501, 2601 through 2608, 2701, 2801 through 2804, 2901 through 2909, 3001, 3101, 3201, 3301, 3401, and 3501 of this act are necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect July 1, 1995." [1995 c 269 § 3604.]
Part headings not law -- Severability -- 1995 c 269: See notes following RCW 13.40.005.
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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