AGO 1955 No. 68 - May 2 1955
BOARD OF PRISON TERMS AND PAROLES ‑- MINIMUM TERM ‑- RECONSIDERATION
After one year of confinement the Board may reconsider the minimum duration of confinement of an inmate who comes within the purview of RCW 9.95.040 and adjust the same downward, but the reconsidered term must not be less than that permitted under that section.
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May 2, 1955
Honorable Norman S. Hayner
Board of Prison Terms and Paroles
706 Franklin Street
Olympia, Washington Cite as: AGO 55-57 No. 68
In your letter of March 25, 1955, you requested our interpretation of chapter 133, Laws of 1955, (Senate Bill 201) with respect to sections 5 and 6 (RCW 9.95.040 and 9.95.050). You point out that under RCW 9.95.040 four limitations are placed on the Board with regard to fixing duration of confinement. You ask whether or not the Board may reconsider the duration of confinement of an inmate who comes within the purview of RCW 9.95.040, either before or after the minimum duration of confinement fixed by such statute has been served.
In one opinion the Board may reconsider such cases at any time after one year's confinement, but the term fixed must not be less than permitted under that section.
Chapter 133, Laws of 1955 (S.B. 201) amended RCW 9.95.040 with respect to the time an inmate's duration of confinement as fixed by the Board may be reconsidered. Under the new act, which takes effect on June 9, 1955, reconsideration may be given at any time after one year's confinement. The [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] prior statute permitted such reconsideration, as to inmates over twenty-one at the time of their crimes. Only after three years if committed to the state reformatory, and after seven years if confined at the state penitentiary.
The following example will illustrate: An inmate was sentenced to the penitentiary for armed robbery for a term of twenty years; his duration of confinement was initially fixed by the Board at fifteen years. After the effective date of the 1955 act, and after he has served one year, the Board may reconsider his duration of confinement. Under RCW 9.95.040 (1) 1955 Supp., it may be reduced to as low as five years. If his prison record has been good, he may also be entitled to a time credit reduction of one‑third for good behavior.
Under the prior law (RCW 9.95.050) this individual would not have been eligible for a second consideration of his duration of confinement until he had served seven years. Thus it can be seen that the Board of Prison Terms and Paroles has been given much greater leeway in fixing the duration of confinement than it previously enjoyed.
We hope the foregoing analysis will prove helpful.
Very truly yours,
Assistant Attorney General