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Sample Legislation: Washington HB 1756 & SB 5639

By Whitney Marris, Trauma Therapist and Director of Trauma-Informed Practice & System Transformation

NOTE: The enclosed is sample legislation from CTIPP’s 2022 Trauma-Informed Policy Development Highlights. It is meant to be educational and aspirational for trauma-informed advocacy.

Sample Legislation: Washington House Bill 1756 & Senate Bill 5639

CTIPP Policy Dimension: Address injustice and inequity in the legal system (36% of trauma-informed bills ITTIC analyzed were aligned with this dimension)

Summary: This Democrat-led measure concerns solitary confinement, including aligning the state’s use of such practices with the United Nations Nelson Mandela Rules (something New York successfully achieved in its HALT Solitary Confinement Act being signed into law in 2021, affirming the momentum across many states in reforming the legal system to reduce trauma and re-traumatization).

Notably, the bill text acknowledges how solitary confinement perpetuates immoral and harmful treatment of incarcerated people and further asserts that there is considerable collateral trauma that accompanies solitary confinement. The bill also notes how such practices perpetuate family fracturing, which runs counter to the intent of the justice system itself.

Specifically, the bill outlines that any incarcerated person in solitary confinement for longer than 45 cumulative days in a fiscal year must have a trauma-informed, culturally-appropriate individualized intervention plan to facilitate a transition to a less restrictive intervention.

Such plans may include an evaluation for possible single cell placement, access to and treatment by medical and mental health providers, the provision of peer supports, programming to address substance use and related behavioral health issues, restorative justice-informed programming, or other interventions, programming, or accommodations based on individualized need.

Among other provisions to support the changes the bill proposes, there is a training requirement for staff and accountability/documentation standards to ensure that the protocol set forth by the state is being adhered to. Despite this bill not being signed into law, there was compelling testimony to support this initiative, and the need for advocacy to make progress toward more humane, trauma-informed treatment of people who are incarcerated remains.

Explore CTIPP’s 2022 Trauma-Informed Policy Development Highlights

Explore ITTIC’s Trauma-Informed Legislative Proposals: 2022 in Review

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