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Washington's legislature crafted a sentencing system which structures but does not eliminate discretionary decisions affecting sentences. Washington has a Sentencing Guidelines Commission which functions as an agent of the legislature and not as an independent actor. Data collected by the Sentencing Guidelines Commission since 1985 demonstrate the effectiveness of Washington's sentencing guidelines in translating the legislature's sentencing policy judgments into reality. The legislature's role in formulating and refining sentencing policies is examined in detail, as well as Washington's Sentencing Reform Act of 1981 and its effect on sentencing.