Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Public Safety Committee

HB 2025

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Requiring the development and implementation of a comprehensive plan to improve offender programs.

Sponsors: Representatives Goodman, Klippert, Pettigrew, Hayes, Griffey, Chapman and Jinkins.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Requires the Department of Corrections (DOC) to develop and implement a comprehensive plan for offender programs that prioritizes state funding according to specified criteria.

  • Requires the DOC to discontinue ineffective programs and practices, and repurpose underspent funds according to the priorities in the plan.

Hearing Date: 2/14/17

Staff: Kelly Leonard (786-7147).


Review of the Department of Corrections Programs. The Department of Corrections (DOC) provides many agency and volunteer operated programs to inmates in order to constructively occupy inmate time and reduce recidivism. In the 2013-15 State Operating Budget, the Legislature directed the Department of Corrections (DOC) to consult with the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) to categorize all existing offender programs as either evidence-based or research-based. The DOC was required to hire a consultant to develop a comprehensive implementation plan for phasing out ineffective programs and phasing in those demonstrated to be effective. The Legislature also directed DOC to implement programs consistent with the risk‐needs‐responsivity model.

The DOC contracted with Washington State University (WSU) to provide the consultation services, assist with the categorization, and provide recommendations. The WSU conducted a multi‐phase program review, with priority for the legislatively funded programs offered by DOC. In addition, WSU developed the Evidenced-Based Indicator Scorecard (EBIS) to determine if the DOC program components and implementation match those components in literature reviews, consistent with evidence-based practices.

The categorization process revealed that all programs funded by the legislature are either evidence-based programs or research-based as of 2015.

Evidence-Based and Research-Based. In the context of adult corrections, the WSIPP published the following definitions in 2013:

Summary of Bill:

The DOC must develop and implement a comprehensive plan for offender programs. Offender programs include all programs in correctional facilities and community settings using state funds. It also includes contracted offender programs provided by third-party entities and paid for with state funds.

The plan must prioritize funding for and implementation of programs that:

The DOC must discontinue ineffective programs and practices, and repurpose underspent funds according to the priorities in the plan. The DOC may not cancel or discontinue a successful program that reduces recidivism in favor of implementing a new program without empirical data showing the same or better outcomes, unless otherwise required by law.

The DOC may allocate up to five percent of appropriations provided for offender programs for the piloting and researching of programs deemed research-based or a promising practice.

The DOC must submit a report by December 1 of each year to the Washington Statewide Reentry Council, the Governor, and the appropriate committees of the Legislature regarding the DOC's compliance with the bill. The report must:

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Requested on February 10, 2017.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.