‘3 strikes’ sentencing reform leaves out Washington inmates

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Dozens of inmates are set to stay in Washington state prisons for life because they have been left out of the latest reform targeting “three strikes” laws.

Washington lawmakers earlier this year removed second-degree robbery from the state’s list of three-strike crimes. But an amendment pushed by a prosecutors’ group made it non-retroactive. Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bill April 29.

About 62 inmates with “strikes” for the crime will be left serving life sentences. 

Supporters of the amendment have said even less-serious robberies can leave emotional scars.

At least 24 states including Washington passed “three strikes” laws during the 1990s, embracing tough-on-crime rhetoric. But nearly half have since scaled them back amid concern that habitual but less-violent offenders were being stuck behind bars for life with hardcore felons.