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Smart Justice Spokane Quarterly Meeting
The Smart Justice Spokane Quarterly meeting was a great turnout with lots of attendees that were anxious to hear updates about the coalition’s next steps. The first item that was announced was the launch of their new website: smartjusticespokane.org. The website is filled with lots of great information on their vision, accomplishments, projects, events, resources, and most importantly how to get involved with the coalition!
The next item that was discussed was the legislative updates to let the attendees know what bills to support to advance the Smart Justice Spokane goals. Those bills are The Fair Chance Act, The Certificate of Restoration of Opportunity Act, Legal Financial Obligation Reform, and Use of Deadly Force Bill. We need to let our senators know that they need to support these bills and to educate them about the ways the current criminal justice operates to reduce opportunities for those in the criminal justice system long after they’ve done their time. This is our time to speak on behalf for those that have been silenced! One bill that we need to say no to is the Police Body Cameras bill because the bill does not go far enough to protect privacy rights for our citizens and this is a violation of our rights. Please contact Senators Padden and Baumgartner and let them know what we want!
2016 Peace & Economic Justice Action Conference
Register now for our 7th Annual Peace and Economic Justice Action Conference on February 26-27, 2016 Once again we will be at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4340 W. Ft. George Wright Dr., Spokane, WA.
Smart Justice Spokane Updates — Smart Hiring and community member voices!
By Liz Moore
In March, the Board of Spokane County Commissioners added two community members to the Spokane Regional Law and Justice Council (SRLJC), a change long advocated by Smart Justice Spokane to bring the voices of those impacted by the system to the decision-making body. Recruitment for these positions will begin soon — if you are interested or would like to encourage others to apply, please contact me and I’ll make sure you hear more!
The SRLJC also adopted its mission statement: “to create and sustain a cost-effective regional criminal justice system that builds a healthy and strong community by fostering the best possible outcomes for the community, including reducing recidivism and increasing system collaboration.” Adopted goals include: “Include community members, particularly those who are impacted by the system, in the reform efforts through meaningful participation on the SRLJC and its Subcommittees;” and “Evaluate and address racial disproportionality in the criminal justice system and have a commitment in all departments to achieve racial equity.”
These goals are important commitments to real change coming!
In April, Spokane City Council voted unanimously to support the City’s new hiring policy, which gives applicants with criminal records a fair opportunity to be considered for City employment. The Council asked the City to work with the Human Rights Commission to publicize the new hiring policy across the community, and 2) track city hiring data and report on the policy’s impact.
Congratulations and thanks to all the folks who courageously shared their own powerful real-life stories of the collateral consequences of convictions and incarceration. And thanks to all who emailed, called, and came to show support! As partners in Smart Justice Spokane, we’ve known from the beginning: nothing stops the cycle of crime like a living wage job! Our community works best when everyone in our community can work!
We stood strong: “Invest in People –Not the Pentagon!”
A dedicated team of PJALS members gathered on Tax Day to make our values visible:
When we spend more than half of our federal budget on the Pentagon, it doesn’t make us more secure. Let’s stop pouring money into defense contracting, and look for comprehensive solutions that address the root causes of conflict. Our security requires investment in education, good jobs, infrastructure, nutrition, health care, affordable housing and other services that provide economic security to our families and a brighter future for our children.
Support Smart Hiring for folks with conviction records!
Show your support: Monday April 13, 6:00 pm at the Spokane City Council Meeting, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd
In Smart Justice Spokane, we’ve known from the beginning that nothing stops the cycle of crime like a job! Our community works best when everyone in our community can work!
Please join us at the City Council meeting on Monday April 13 at 6 pm to show your support for the City’s new hiring policy, which gives applicants with criminal records a fair opportunity to be considered for City employment! The City Administration implemented the policy in December, but there was no publicity.
You can show your support by attending or by testifying! Read more »
Inspiration & Impact in Olympia: Lobby Day!
by Bobby Kirl
On January 20th, I and members from the 6th Legislative District participated, alongside PJALS and Washington CAN members from many Eastern Washington Legislative Districts, in an exciting and highly effective lobby day in Olympia. Our PJALS delegation of 16 people was our largest to date! The atmosphere and mood of the delegation was more than this aspiring activist could have hoped for right from the start.
My first lobby day began with an inspirational rally. Several highly motivated organizers and activists shared heart-felt personal stories of their struggles and triumphs on important legislative issues like the Washington DREAM act–which has since been signed into law!– as well as increasing access to dental care, paid sick days for all workers and health care reform. The rally left the congregation with no doubt of the importance of the agenda. Shortly after that inspiration the entire group, nearly 200 strong, took to the streets for a multi-block march from the Capitol Theater all the way to the steps of the State Capital building. Read more »
Action Needed: Sit and Lie Ordinance Vote on December 16
Emails Needed on Sit and Lie Ordinance, Attend City Council Meeting on Monday December 16
Spokane City Councilman Allen, with the support of the Downtown Spokane Partnership, has dropped an expanded “sit and lie” ordinance that will come up for a hearing and vote at the Spokane City Council meeting on Monday, December 16, 6pm.
The Smart Justice Campaign is very concerned that the “sit and lie” ordinance being considered will increase the number of non-violent people in our jail. The proposed ordinance makes it a misdemeanor crime to sit or lie on sidewalks in the downtown core between 6am and 1am, and to sit or lie on any sidewalk fixture (like a planter, bike rack, or drinking fountain) at any time. The ordinance attempts to direct people into homeless shelters instead of jail, but fails to provide resources to shelters for additional space and services, nor does it establish diversion programs to provide treatment and support services for those found to be in violation of the ordinance.
Your help is needed – Please call or email Spokane City Council members (talking points below) and urge them to oppose the Sit and Lie Ordinance, and attend the City Council Hearing on Monday December 16th. Read more »