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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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New law allows supervision of car thieves after prison release

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee shakes hands with Spokane Mayor David Condon after signing a bill to allow community supervision of motor vehicle thieves after they are release from prison. Sen. Mike Padden, right, and Police Chief Craig Meidl were among local officials at the signing ceremony. (Jim Camden / The Spokesman-Review)
OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee shakes hands with Spokane Mayor David Condon after signing a bill to allow community supervision of motor vehicle thieves after they are release from prison. Sen. Mike Padden, right, and Police Chief Craig Meidl were among local officials at the signing ceremony. (Jim Camden / The Spokesman-Review)

OLYMPIA – City officials notched a legislative victory Tuesday after some three years of lobbying, and hope it will translate into a victory in a fight against car theft.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation setting up a program of community supervision for people convicted of felony motor vehicle theft after they are released from prison. The state currently does not have community supervision for people convicted of most nonviolent property crimes.

Spokane Mayor David Condon, City Council members Breean Beggs and Candace Mumm, police Chief Craig Meidl and Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, were part of a group that gathered around Inslee for the official bill signing.

“It’s been three long years,” Condon said afterward. He and other city officials made multiple trips to Olympia to testify at legislative committees.

Spokane has a high incidence of car theft, with some career criminals responsible for dozens or even hundreds of thefts. Several attempts to set up a supervision program when convicted thieves are released from prison failed. One had proposed setting up a pilot program in Spokane to see if better supervision by the state Department of Corrections would reduce recidivism for property crime offenders.

This year, the bill was designed to be statewide; it seeks to determine if state and local governments cancut recidivism and contain costs by reducing the number of days an inmate spends in prison if they successfully complete a shorter stint in less-expensive community supervision.

The new law goes into effect in 90 days.

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