SB 6164, which went into effect in June 2020, gives new hope to those serving long prison sentences in the state of Washington. Among other things, it gives prosecutors the ability to seek resentencing when someone’s original sentence no longer seems just.
This is particularly important in a world where social attitudes and laws alike have changed dramatically over time. Someone convicted of certain marijuana-related crimes today, for example, might be sentenced very differently (and much more leniently) than someone who was convicted of the same crimes 10 or 20 years ago.
The court will consider a multitude of factors
When considering a prosecutor’s motion for resentencing under SB 6164, the court will look at a range of factors. These can include:
- The nature of the offenses for which the individual was originally convicted
- The individual’s prior convictions, if any
- The inmate’s conduct while in prison, including any efforts at rehabilitation and participation in educational or vocational programs
- The inmate’s current age and health status, especially if they are in poor health
- The likelihood (or lack thereof) that the individual will re-offend
- The impact of the original sentence on the individual’s family and community
- The potential for the individual to successfully reintegrate into society if released
- Any other relevant factors that may be presented by the prosecutor, the defense or other parties involved in the case
The goal of resentencing under SB 6164 is to provide a fair and just outcome that takes into account the unique circumstances of a case. If the prosecutor doesn’t want to bring a motion, then it’s possible to seek a clemency request, instead.