When convicted individuals face prison time, it may feel like there is no alternative to the original sentence. However, that is not necessarily the case.
The State of Washington has a number of avenues for some inmates to reduce their sentencing. These include a minor incarcerated as an adult and new information that supports a shorter sentence.
Individuals incarcerated as minors
According to National Public Radio, people who faced trial and conviction sentencing as minors in adult courts have the right to appear before a judge for resentence consideration. The argument is there may have been mitigating circumstances when they committed a crime as minors. This ruling by the Washington State Supreme Court allows judges to consider factors regarding the youth at the time of the crime.
Another option for incarcerated individuals is to petition prosecutors to support a resentencing hearing. According to the Washington State Legislature, SB 6164 refers to prosecutorial discretion regarding resentencing. This may occur for cases in which the original sentence no longer supports the justice interests.
If a prosecutor approves this motion, the court will consider various factors such as:
- The incarcerated individual’s future risk of violence based on diminished physical state, time served or age
- Record of rehabilitation
- Disciplinary record
- Changed circumstances
The inmate should gather as much evidence as possible to state his or her case. This may include character letters, proof of rehab participation and treatment, disciplinary records and medical records.
If the judge agrees to a resentencing, the new sentence must be shorter than the original one, and the time already served counts towards the new sentence.