She was shocked into action when her daughter was abducted and murdered by a sex offender free on work release. She got citizens involved and got the attention of Olympia. First with new laws, then she got elected as a State Representative and served five terms.
… Then-Gov. Booth Gardner named [Rep.] Ballasiotes to a task force to study possible reforms. The group’s work eventually led to the Community Protection Act of 1990, which toughened sentences and required registration of sex offenders.
The law also allowed the state to indefinitely lock up certain sexually violent offenders who have completed their criminal sentences but are deemed a continued threat by the courts.
Rep. Ballasiotes was elected a state representative in 1992 and served five terms, continuing to focus on criminal-justice and corrections issues. She was an advocate for get-tough laws that have been copied nationally, including the 1993 “three-strikes” measure that mandates life sentences for those convicted three times of certain serious felonies.
There are now 261 prisoners serving life sentences under that law, according to the state Department of Corrections. ...