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Blueprint for Reform calls for “Smart Justice”
by Dom Felix
The Spokane Regional Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) released its report “Blueprint for Reform” January 10th 2014. Many of the Smart Justice Campaign’s policy recommendations are in the CJC’s report–ideas like moving to an evidence-based criminal justice system, creating a Disproportionate Minority Contact Workgroup to address racial disparities, building culturally appropriate programs and support service for offenders, reforming the system to be offender-centered rather than offence-centered, and delaying the building of a new jail or increasing jail capacity until after alternatives and new practices are implemented and evaluated.
This is a great success for the Smart Justice Campaign. These recommendations have the power to improve our criminal justice system and save money at the same time. Read more »
Your Voice is Needed for Smart Justice: Hearing Wed., Nov. 6
We’re part of the Smart Justice Campaign because PJALS members like you told us alternatives to incarceration and criminal justice reform are worth winning. Now is the time for us to spring into action together!
Your Voice is Needed at November 6th Hearing to
Smart Justice needs you this fall
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. Read more »
The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. … If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, … want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. …. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will.
Our Community of Action Going Forward Together
by Liz Moore, PJALS Director
What I love most about PJALS is being part of a community of people who take action together based on the connections between human rights, economic justice, & peace.
Our Steering Committee asked you, PJALS members, to guide strategic planning for 2013-2014. We learned that you overwhelmingly support organizing to raise revenue & reject cuts as well as to counter the costs of militarism and to demand money for people, not for war. You’re also passionate about alternatives to incarceration & police accountability. You value that we create community together through our events & campaigns. You strongly support our Young Activist Leaders Program & our interns. You love our Action Conference. You want PJALS to continue to strengthen our connections with communities of color & with rural people.
Why prioritize those areas? Read more »
An Invitation to Share Your Story, for Smart Justice
A diverse coalition including PJALS, Greater Spokane Progress, and the Center for Justice is about to launch a Smart Justice Campaign to persuade the County to fully implement comprehensive alternatives to incarceration for non-violent and low-level offenders.
We need to humanize this issue, so community members and elected officials will understand how the current system affects individuals and families. Julie Schaffer, an attorney at the Center for Justice, is inviting people who have been impacted by the criminal justice system to please contact her and share their stories. Read more »
Jobs, Not Jails, for Spokane County
Nationally, communities use rehabilitative programs for people in the criminal justice system 70% of the time and jail only 30% of the time. In Spokane County, it is just the opposite – we incarcerate 70% of the people and provide alternative programs to only 30%. Alternatives to incarceration can save taxpayer funds, create safer neighborhoods and end the cycle of revolving door jail sentences. Jail is far more expensive and less effective than alternative programs. So in order to create safer communities at an affordable price we need to shift away from outdated systems. Read more »