Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Compensation bill on the move

Posted By on Tue, Apr 2, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Washington is one step closer to joining 27 other states and Washington D.C. in paying the wrongfully convicted for the time they spent behind bars.

Earlier in the legislative session, we told you about a measure championed by Innocence Project Northwest that would compensate those wrongfully convicted in Washington.

Early last month, the bill passed the house 95-2. Yesterday, it made another crucial advancement: the Senate Law and Justice Committee moved it along to the Ways and Means committee. The committee also approved one amendment that offers those receiving compensation the option to get paid in installments rather than a lump sum if they choose.

Here's the full video from that hearing:

Under the bill, those who prove their innocence would receive $50,000 per year they spent in prison ($100,000 if they were on death row) and $25,000 per year on parole, in community custody or registered as a sex offender.

It's the third time in as many years the Innocence Project has tried for such a bill, but it's failed mostly based on economic concerns. Advocates say those in doubt have started to see that compensation is a cheaper alternative to lengthy lawsuits brought against the state by the wrongfully convicted. 

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About The Author

Heidi Groover

Heidi Groover is a staff writer at the Inlander, where she covers city government and drug policy. On the job, she's spent time with prostitutes, "street kids," marriage equality advocates and the family of a 16-year-old organ donor...