Crime, Law and Justice

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

Sexual assault victims under age 21 could come forward to police without being cited for underage alcohol possession under a measure moving ahead in the Oregon legislature.

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A measure to crack down on prohibited gun buyers in Washington has unexpectedly died in the Republican-led state Senate. The bipartisan proposal failed to get a vote before a key deadline this week.

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One casualty of the looming end of Washington state’s legislative session is a bill on police use of deadly force.

Washington has one of the highest bars in the nation for charging police officers who use deadly force. They are protected as long as they act in good faith and without malice.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Oregon lawmakers won't vote on a measure that would create a new crime called "militia terrorism." That announcement came from a key lawmaker Wednesday during a hearing on the bill, which drew plenty of opposition.

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Since 2011, Washington’s prison system has deported 339 convicted felons instead of locking them up. The deportations are part of a voluntary program designed to reduce prison costs.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Police, prosecutors and victims say it’s time for the state of Washington to crack down on prohibited gun buyers. Lawmakers heard testimony Thursday on a proposal to require gun dealers to alert authorities when someone tries to buy a gun and fails a background check.

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Oregon lawmakers are once again debating whether testimony in front of grand juries should be recorded. It's not the first time the proposal has surfaced.

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Oregon law enforcement agencies would have to track the race and sex of everyone they initiate contact with under a measure being considered at the state Capitol.

Washington Department of Corrections

In 2014 and 2015, Washington's prison system experienced a spike in inmate suicides. During those two years 11 inmate deaths were ruled suicides, giving Washington one of the highest prison suicide rates in the country.

Richard Billings, Jr., 38
Child molestation
Sentence: 144 months

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

In 2014 and 2015, Washington's prison system experienced a spike in inmate suicides. During those two years 11 inmate deaths were ruled suicides, giving Washington one of the highest prison suicide rates in the country. Austin Jenkins has spent the past year investigating how this happened and how the prison system responded.

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