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AGO 1953 No. 464 - January 20, 1953
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington


 The Board of Prison Terms and Paroles has authority under its rule making power to require as a condition precedent to parole, a cash bond of a parolee who seeks permission to leave the state pursuant to the Interstate Compact Act, RCW 9.95.270.

The Board also has authority to set up a special trust fund for this purpose.

                                                                     - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                                  January 20, 1953 

Doctor Henry H. Ness, Chairman
Board of Prison Terms and Paroles
614 County-City Building
Seattle, Washington                                                                                                             Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 464

 Dear Sir:

             You have requested our opinion on whether or not the Board of Prison Terms and Paroles

             1. Has authority to enact a regulation regarding the posting of a cash bond as a condition precedent to parole in certain cases, and,

             2. Whether or not there is any legal impediment to adopting what you call the "Iowa plan" of setting up a trust account for the handling of these funds.

             Our conclusion to your first inquiry is "yes," to the second "no."


             Under the provisions of the interstate compact act, RCW 9.95.270, the State Board of Prison Terms and Paroles has authority to permit a parolee to reside in another state and the duty to return him to this state upon the revocation of his parole.  Under the act, his return may be effected without the  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] formalities required by extradition.  The constitutionality of this act has been upheld in In re Pierce v. Smith, 31 Wn. (2d) 52, 195 P. (2d) 112.

             The Board of Prison Terms and Paroles may establish rules and regulations under which a convicted person may be allowed to leave the confines of the penitentiary or reformatory on parole, and may return such persons to the confines of the institution from which he was paroled, at its discretion.  RCW 9.95.110.

             Under RCW 9.95.120, the Board is authorized to impose as a condition of parole granted a convicted person, that the credits earned for good behavior shall be forfeited in the event that such convicted person breaks his parole or violates any law of the state, or rule or regulation of the penal institution in which he was confined.  The above condition precedent to parole is not exclusive.  There are numerous cases which uphold the Board's discretionary powers to fix the duration of confinement of a prisoner.  Parole is a matter of grace, not right, to be granted or withheld as sound official discretion may impel.  SeeState ex rel. Linden v. Bunge, 192 Wash. 245, 73 P. (2d) 516, and Butler v. Cranor, 38 Wn. (2d) 471.

             The question involved is whether or not the proposed regulation, i.e., to require, as a condition precedent to parole, that the sponsor of the parolee be required to post a cash bond to guarantee that the parolee does not violate the conditions of his parole, is reasonable.  This bond would only apply to parolees granted permission to leave this state to reside in another state with which we have an interstate compact.  The courts are reluctant to disturb a regulation of an administrative body if it is within the ambit of the agency's power and not arbitrary or capricious.

             It is our conclusion that you have the authority to enact such a regulation as you propose, nor do we know of any legal impediment to adopting the Iowa method of handling these funds.  As we apprehend that plan, the chairman and the secretary of the board act as trustees for this fund.

             There appears to be a parallel provision in our Financial Responsibility Law, RCW 47.28.020 to 47.28.120 inclusive.  This statute provides for the posting of cash security by drivers involved in certain accidents without adequate insurance under penalty of suspending their license to drive.

 Very truly yours,
Attorney General 

Assistant Attorney General

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