Governor Jay Inslee signs Senate Bill 5694

April 20, 2022

By Brendan Baptist

Department of Corrections

Governor Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5694 as supporters of the bill looked on. (Photo courtesy of the Governor’s Office)

Governor Jay Inslee has signed several key tribal-related bills into law. These policies were developed in collaboration with local tribes, legislators, Attorney Generalthe governor’s office, and others. The Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) recognizes that its facilities are built on ancestral lands and customary territories and is committed to working with tribal partners to improve the lives of Indigenous peoples. Senate Bill 5694 is an example of how working with local communities can benefit our neighbors across the state.

Senate Bill 5694 will authorize the housing of incarcerated individuals, who are sentenced to more than one year after their conviction in tribal court, in DOC facilities. The bill will provide a public safety benefit by allowing individuals in tribal courts to serve criminal sentences in appropriate facilities where they have access to rehabilitation services. It will also relieve stress on local correctional facilities which may be ill-equipped to house Tribal Court individuals on a long-term basis.

Nancy Dufraine, DOC’s director of tribal relations, was on hand to witness the governor’s signing of the bill at the Tulalip Resort Casino. Dufraine says the bill represents another level of the DOC’s commitment to government-to-government relationships to serve tribes and their citizenship. “The ability to meet the needs of our sovereign tribes with justice involves individuals and providing them with opportunities to engage in programs that can lead them to a better future helps keep all communities safe.”

To read the full text of the bill, visit leg.wa.gov.

Norman D. Briggs