Governor signs Rep. Matt Shea’s home detention monitoring accountability bill
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2015
CONTACT: John Sattgast, Senior Information Officer/Broadcast Coordinator – (360) 786-7257
Governor signs Rep. Matt Shea's home detention monitoring accountability bill
A bill that establishes tougher new accountability standards for convicts sentenced to the state's electronic home monitoring program was signed today (Monday) by Gov. Jay Inslee.
The measure's prime-sponsor, Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, said House Bill 1943 “is one of the most substantive reforms of electronic home monitoring in state history.”
“This bill is going to curb the abuses in the system that have allowed criminals on electronic home monitoring to walk around free without supervision,” said Shea. “It will restore accountability to the system and make our communities much safer.”
Among other things, the bill will:
- Prohibit home detention for offenders who have previously violated the terms of a home detention program;
- Require monitoring agencies to notify the court and other entities within 24 hours when a monitored individual is unaccounted for, or beyond an approved location for 24 consecutive hours;
- Require monitoring agencies to notify the court or other entities when there are known violations of electronic monitoring;
- Prohibit post-trial home detention for offenders who have a prior conviction for a violent, drug or sex offense, unlawful imprisonment, harassment, third-degree assault, third-degree assault of a child, and reckless burning in the first or second degree;
- Provide that a person who knowingly violates the terms of home detention is guilty of “escape in the third degree;” and
- Allow courts to fine monitoring agencies up to $1,000 per violation and cancel contracts for failing to comply with monitoring requirements.
Shea first became involved in working for reforms in 2014 after news reports that dangerous offenders sentenced to electronic home monitoring were removing their ankle bracelets and even “buying time off the clock” when they're supposed to be confined to their homes. In its “Home Free” investigative series, KING 5 news reported that while on electronic home monitoring, offenders stole a Seattle ferry, kidnapped a six-year-old Seattle girl, murdered a 13-year-old girl in Vancouver, and stabbed a man in Seattle 80 times, dumping his body into a shopping cart.
“We're no longer going to tolerate abuse of the home detention monitoring program. If you cut off the bracelet, we'll catch you, the program is revoked and you go to prison, along with additional charges. And if you are a monitoring agency that fails to monitor, it's going to be very costly for you,” added Shea.
It is estimated about 20,000 people are on electronic home monitoring in Washington state. The measure takes effect July 24.
###Washington State House Republican Communications