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Leavitt bill to expand education opportunities for incarcerated people passes state House

OLYMPIA – The state House voted 96-2 yesterday to pass a strong bipartisan bill from Rep. Mari Leavitt (D-University Place) to create pathways from prison to postsecondary education for people who are incarcerated. By expanding access from prison to undergraduate and graduate education, HB 1044 would invest in a workforce that wants to contribute to their communities, lower recidivism rates, improve public safety and save taxpayer dollars.

“We know that at least 95% of people in state prisons will be released back into their communities at some point. This bill will help incarcerated people seeking to find a job after serving their sentence, stabilize their and their families’ lives and build a career — all while addressing our state’s need for skilled workers and reducing criminal justice spending,” Leavitt said.

HB 1044 expands the Washington State Department of Corrections’ ability to provide postsecondary education certificates and degree programs at state correctional facilities. The bill is now headed to the Senate for further consideration.