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LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS REQUEST ADDITIONAL EARLY RELEASE & REDUCED CUSTODY IN SPOKANE COUNTY JAIL AS PUBLIC HEALTH PROTECTION DURING COVID -19 PANDEMIC

Smart Justice Spokane, ACLU Washington, Columbia Legal Services, Disability Rights WA, The Bail Project and others sent a formal request to Spokane City Officials requesting the following:

Immediate Releases are Necessary to Prevent Uncontrollable Outbreak at Spokane County Jail:

  1. Release without bond any individual being held on a low bond;
  2. Release without bond any individual over the age of 60 years, and anyone with a serious medical condition (e.g., heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, or immunocompromised)
  3. Enact an immediate prohibition on arresting or jailing individuals for failure to appear (FTA), legal financial obligations (LFO), or contempt of court matters;
  4. Enact an immediate prohibition on the imposition of bail for any but the most serious violent felonies;
  5. Immediately quash all warrants in all cases but the most serious violent felonies; and
  6. Prohibit jailing on drug charges or other low-level offenses.

Steps Necessary to Protect Those Released from Custody

For those who cannot or will not be released from custody, the following measures should be put into place immediately:

  1. Adopt a standard of care for individuals in SCJ custody that meets or exceeds the recommendations for care in the community.
  2. Implement social distancing measures to the extent possible. Releasing as many people as possible is the most likely strategy to mitigate risks to the most vulnerable people in custody.
  3. End costs/copays for phone and video visitation. Regardless of the current public health crisis, the exorbitant costs associated with phone, email, and video visitation in jail facilities is unacceptable.
  4. Ensure that every person at SCJ, staff, residents, visitors, and volunteers alike, has uninhibited access to soap, running water, single-use towels, and alcohol-based hand sanitizer to minimize the spread of COVID-19 throughout the facility.
  5. Adopt a standard of care for individuals in SCJ custody that meets or exceeds the recommendations for care in the community.
  6. Ensure that people in custody and their families receive updated, comprehensive, timely and thorough information.

 

Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane’s Director Liz Moore is the co-chair of Smart Justice Spokane’s Executive Committee.

The Smart Justice Spokane campaign coalition is:  ACLU/Washington · All Saints Lutheran Church · Center for Justice · Chihak & Associates – Disability Attorneys · Community Building Foundation · Community-Minded Enterprises ·  Fulcrum Institute Dispute Resolution Clinic · Greater Spokane Progress · KYRS/Thin Air Community Radio · League of Women Voters Spokane Area · NAMI Spokane  – National Alliance on Mental Illness · Neighborhood Alliance of Spokane · Northwest Fair Housing Alliance · Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane · SEIU Heathcare 775 NW · Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund · Spokane Branch Unit 1137 NAACP · Spokane Center for Independent Living · Spokane Community Against Racism · Spokane Tribe of Indians ·Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane  · University Legal Assistance, Gonzaga Law School · Washington Community Action Network · Washington Education Association, Eastern Washington · Washington NORML · Washington State Council of City & County Employees – Local 270 AFSCME

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