Many families and communities, especially families of color, have been devastated by the absence of loved ones, sentenced to decades in prison. This documentary exposes the impact of long sentences on families in Washington.

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We know thousands of Washington families struggle dealing with the impacts of mass incarceration. Join us in demanding an end to mass incarceration today by participating in a short survey for family members who have experienced the hardships that accompany prison or jail time. We want to hear more about your experiences with mass incarceration. We will utilize these stories to help identify how widespread these issues are and hold lawmakers accountable for unjust laws and policies that are keeping millions of families in a cycle of debt and depression. 



Punitive approaches to incarceration do not have a net positive impact on society. Crime rates in Washington have not changed since the 1980s, yet the state has spent more money confining people to prison. More families have suffered the emotional and economic consequences of a loved one’s incarceration, and low-income neighborhoods have become more deeply entrenched in poverty. Mass incarceration has not done much to improve public safety, but it has harmed the health and well-being of disadvantaged communities.

Although most academic researchers, correctional agencies, and members of the public have come to accept the idea that rehabilitation is possible, it is still not the underlying philosophy behind most criminal justice policies in Washington. In 1984, discretionary parole review for the possibility of early release was eliminated in Washington for all but a few categories of people. This decision was motivated by the incorrect assumption that people who commit serious or violent offenses in Washington are incapable of change.

Washington CAN is fighting to bring back parole and create a Community Review Board. Expanding eligibility for parole review to the rest of the state prison population could:

  • Improve the economic and social well-being of neighborhoods decimated by indiscriminate gang sweeps and over-policing

  • Reduce the economic burden of mass incarceration on families who are supporting their love ones in prison and getting by in single-income households

  • Reduce the inequity of mass incarceration, disproportionately confining people in poverty and people of color to long sentences

  • Interrupt the cycle of incarceration by restoring children’s contact with their parents

  • Promote a criminal justice system based on rehabilitation and healing, rather than retribution and extreme punishments.