February 26, 2014 in Letters, Opinion

HB 2231 aids re-entry

 

House Bill 2231 is a step in the right direction to help offenders have a successful re-entry into our community. According to the Statewide Poverty Action Network, “This bill acknowledges that people struggling with mental illness or homelessness should not be re-incarcerated for failing to pay their LFOs by exempting them from non-payment penalties.”

LFOs, or legal financial obligations, are fines, fees and restitution orders imposed by the court at sentencing that offenders are required to pay. In Spokane County, more than 30,000 offenders have unpaid LFOs. Up to 10 percent of Spokane County Jail inmates are in custody for failure to pay their LFOs.

The cost of incarcerating offenders for failure to pay LFOs is more than $3 million per year. As a Master of Social Work student at Eastern Washington University, I care about my community and the successful re-entry of offenders, because successful re-entry means less crime.

Please help me inform the community about this issue. HB 2231 has passed in the House and is currently in the Senate. Let citizens know that all they need to do is contact their senator supporting this bill. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Marissa Michalke

Spokane


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