Alternatives to Total Confinement for Some Parents of Minor Children

A Positive solution for public safety

A positive solution to parenting

The Washington Legislature in 2010 approved SSB 6639, a bill supported by the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) that created two alternatives to prison confinement for some nonviolent offenders who have minor children. This bill created a judicial sentencing alternative that will be referred to as the Family & Offender Sentencing Alternative or FOSA. It also created a new program of partial confinement for use by the Department that is referred to as the Community Parenting Alternative or CPA.

Research shows children of incarcerated parents are significantly more likely to end up in the criminal justice system themselves. The goal of this program is to help stop that cycle of criminal activity.

What you need to know

This legislation has 2 distinct alternatives within the law.

The law was effective June 10, 2010. Additional summary material regarding these options is provided in the FOSA Brochure. Special printing instructions: Under the “print” menu, Select “2–sided (Tablet)” and then Click “OK”.

Legislative Work Group Presentation

On February 29, 2012 the DOC staff made a presentation on the Parenting Sentencing Alternative to the House of Representatives Early Learning and Human Services Committee and to the Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee. The Legislative Work Group Presentation is available for your review in this .pdf format.

A Judge’s Sentence Options (FOSA)

Judges may request that DOC complete a risk assessment report and⁄or chemical dependency screening prior to sentencing. At the Court’s request, the Children’s Administration will inform the court if the agency has an open child welfare case or if there were prior substantiated referrals of abuse or neglect involving the offender. If there is an open case, Children’s Administration will provide a report to the court within seven business days.

FOSA allows judges to waive a sentence for FOSA Eligible offenders within the standard sentence range and impose 12 months of community custody along with conditions for treatment and programming for eligible offenders facing a prison sentence. Offenders will be supervised by a Community Corrections Officer who is responsible for a low, specialized caseload of offenders who are sentenced under FOSA or have been placed in the community on electronic monitoring as a part of the CPA program.

FOSA orders can be revoked

DOC will provide quarterly progress reports to the court regarding the offender’s progress in programming, treatment and other supervision requirements. Judges have the authority to require the offender to appear at court to evaluate progress and can modify conditions or impose confinement within the standard range for the current offense, if the court determines the offender violated the conditions or is failing to make progress in treatment. The time spent in the community will not be credited toward the confinement time.

Community Parenting Alternative (CPA)

The bill allows DOC to create a new Partial Confinement program for CPA Eligible offenders. The Department may transfer the offender to the community under electronic monitoring to serve up to the last 12 months of his or her sentence. Offenders will be supervised by a Community Corrections Officer who is responsible for a low, specialized caseload of offenders who are sentenced under FOSA or have been placed in the community on electronic monitoring as a part of the CPA program. These cases will be determined by DOC staff based on input from DSHS Children’s Administration and other stakeholders. Community Parenting Alternative Offender Handbook

CPA transfers can be revoked

DOC hearings officers will conduct an administrative hearing to adjudicate any infraction behavior that occurs while on this alternative. CPA offenders may be returned to prison due to infraction behaviors or be administratively returned to prison due to medical circumstances and/or issues that place the child, community, or program at risk.

For questions, contact:

Please send emails to Susie Leavell, Program Administrator at susan.leavell@doc.wa.gov

CCOs contact information can be found on the contacts list for FOSA staff.

This information has been provided as summary information. Please refer to the Washington State Legislature Bill Information website for statutory language of SSB 6639.