“Washington lawmakers seek smoother path to redemption for formerly incarcerated residents”

When Carolina Landa was released from prison after completing an almost four-year sentence, she attempted to relocate to Olympia in order to find a better life for her and her young son.

Landa applied for housing at 10 different places over a six-month period before she got the break she needed from a local landlord. She explained her situation to him, and, although he was skeptical at first, he agreed to give her a chance. Landa, 37, and her son Zachariah have been living there since 2015.

“He was one of those people that goes off of the feeling he gets from a person and he said, ‘You know what, I’m going to give you a second chance because I believe in second chances,’” said Landa.

Landa’s struggle isn’t uncommon. Many people who exit the criminal justice system struggle to find housing and employment. According to the Washington Statewide Reentry Council, 8 to 10 percent of those exiting prison release directly into homelessness.

Her experience is the reason why she testified on behalf of HB 1041 on Jan. 24. The bill is called The New Hope Act and was unanimously passed out of the House Public Safety Committee on Feb. 7.

Rep. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island, is one of the bill’s primary sponsors.


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