Washington state will no longer be one of three states that sells juvenile records, as a result of legislation unanimously passed Friday in the Senate. (TRT: 1:31 ) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Juvenile records will be able to be sealed for nonviolent juvenile offenders, according to a bill that was unanimously passed in the Senate. House Bill 1651 will have to go back to the House for concurrence before heading to the governor’s desk. Rep. Ruth Kagi of Seattle was a sponsor of the bill and has worked on this issue for many years.
Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Seattle: (TRT: 24) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “Most states, 42 states, their records are closed and they are able to move forward and get jobs, get an education, get housing. In Washington state that has not been true. And now, many, many youth will have the opportunity to close their juvenile records. There will be a sealing done on their juvenile records when they turn 18 if they have fulfilled all of the requirements of their sentence.”
Washington state was one of only eight states who do not seal juvenile records and is one of only three states in the country who sold the information. This made it difficult for adults who made mistakes as young people and have to carry their records with them through adulthood. Sen. Jeannie Darneille of Tacoma has been looking into the disproportionalities among minority groups and our state’s juvenile justice system.
Sen. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma: (TRT: 19) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “This is really a win to be able to set up a system that will affect between 6 ,000 and 7,000 youth in our system right now – That they will be able to have those records sealed by a judge when they turn 18 years old if they have not had a violent offense. So, this is a very exciting day.”
Nicole Vukonich reporting in Olympia