Gov. Jay Inslee passes bill to launch pilot program to help reduce property theft

A new bill has been signed into law that is meant to help prevent vehicle thefts in the future. Spokane city leaders helped spearhead the effort. Monday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law Senate Bill 5492.

The bill creates a pilot program that allows people who have been sentenced jail time for property crime to be allowed early release in exchange for community supervision. Otherwise, they would get out and no one would keep an eye on them.

“It really allows them to help reinitegrate them back into hthe community, but it allows the community to also keep an eye and make sure they’re not going to go back to that lifestyle,” said Chief Craig Meidl, Spokane Police Department.

Washington was the only state without a community supervision program for property crime offenders.

The pilot program is set to run for the next six years. After that run, lawmakers will evaluate the results and decide if they want to continue the program or make revisions.

The way it works can sound a bit complicated. Simply, the way it’s written, offenders will get what’s called a one-to-three ratio. It’s the exchange rate Senate Bill 5492 makes possible through the pilot program. For example, if someone is sentenced to three years in jail. They can serve two years in jail and one year they can be under community supervision – it’s one-third of their sentence.

The law will go into effect by mid-June. However, Spokane Police said they won’t be able to tell if the pilot program is showing changes in the community until about a year from now. That’s because before law enforcement can evaluate how the program is doing, they need results from offenders, first. In order for that to happen, offenders will need to serve their sentence – which for some, could take a year or two.

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