Our community has a huge opportunity to make major reforms our criminal justice system starting this year. A three-member Spokane Regional Criminal Justice Commission that was appointed by the Mayor of Spokane and the County Commissioners is in the process of conducting a comprehensive and broad review of the criminal justice system that is in the process of conducting a comprehensive and broad review of the criminal justice system.
PJALS is a member of the Smart Justice Campaign Coalition that is participating in a countywide effort to reform our criminal justice system. The Smart Justice Campaign is a broad coalition of 30 organizations and individuals that has come together with others in our community who want to reform our criminal justice system to create a fair and just system. We are incarcerating too many non-violent offenders in Spokane County at a great cost to the taxpayer, to offenders and their families, and we are disproportionately impacting communities of color, low-income, and people with disabilities.
We want to see our tax dollars focused on proven programs that are more effective and efficient than incarceration with the goal of creating a strong and safe community, lowering costs, and changing people’s lives so that they stay out of jail permanently. This is what we call Smart Justice and we want to see it in Spokane.
Look for more information from PJALS this fall about the Criminal Justice Commission’s draft recommendations and an opportunity to comment and attend a public hearing. PJALS and the Smart Justice Campaign will be working to turn out Smart Justice supporters. For more information on the Smart Justice Campaign, our policy recommendations and Plan for Regional Smart Justice, go to: www.smartjusticespokane.org.