State of Washington
66th Legislature
2020 Regular Session
ByHouse Public Safety (originally sponsored by Representatives Ortiz-Self, Gregerson, Doglio, Pettigrew, Santos, Peterson, Lekanoff, Ryu, Pollet, Valdez, Thai, Macri, Fitzgibbon, Dolan, Davis, J. Johnson, Walen, Frame, Ormsby, and Riccelli)
AN ACT Relating to private detention facilities; and creating new sections.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1. The legislature finds that all people confined in prisons and detention facilities in Washington deserve basic health care, nutrition, and safety, regardless of whether those people are confined in publicly or privately operated facilities. As held in United States v. California, 921 F.3d 865, 886 (9th Cir. 2019), the state possesses "the general authority to ensure the health and welfare of inmates and detainees in facilities within its borders." While public facilities are directly accountable to public institutions, private facilities lack this oversight structure. Private detention facilities ought to be subject to existing statutes, codes, rules, and policies governing safety, health, and welfare, yet little is known as to what inspections or enforcement has occurred across state and local governments. To that end, the legislature intends to evaluate current state and local authority and practices regarding the enforcement of existing requirements applicable to private detention facilities operating within the state.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2. (1) The department shall:
(a) Evaluate the existing authority of state agencies and local governments to inspect private detention facilities for the purposes of enforcing state and local statutes, codes, rules, and policies on the subject of the health, safety, and welfare of detainees;
(b) Evaluate current practices for evaluating whether private detention facilities are in compliance with state and local statutes, codes, rules, and policies;
(c) Determine whether any private detention facility has been subject to an inspection or enforcement action taken by a state agency or local government in the previous five years, and if so, the frequency, nature, and outcomes of those inspections or enforcement actions;
(d) Determine whether any state agency or local government has been denied access to a private detention facility in the previous five years, and if so, the frequency and nature of those denials and the outcome of any applicable enforcement action; and
(e) Make recommendations as to any changes to statutes, rules, or policies necessary to conduct effective inspections and enforcement in private detention facilities for the purpose of ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of detainees.
(2) In conducting the study under this section, the department shall consult with: The department of labor and industries; the department of social and health services; the department of children, youth, and families; the department of corrections; the office of the corrections ombuds; the office of the attorney general; county health departments; local governments; and other agencies or entities with relevant experience or expertise.
(3) The department shall submit a final report with findings and recommendations to the governor and appropriate committees of the legislature by December 1, 2020.
(4) For the purposes of this section:
(a) "Department" means the department of health.
(b) "Detention facility" means any facility in which persons are incarcerated or otherwise involuntarily confined for purposes including prior to trial or sentencing, fulfilling the terms of a sentence imposed by a court, or for other judicial or administrative processes or proceedings.
(c) "Private detention facility" means a detention facility that is operated by a private, nongovernmental entity and operating pursuant to a contract or agreement with a federal, state, or local governmental entity.
(d) "Operate" includes owning, leasing, managing, or controlling some or all of the functions of a detention facility, regardless of the underlying ownership of the facility or land upon which the facility is located.
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