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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!
Spokane Supports Pasco – End Police Brutality
Join MEChA de EWU and Tri-Cities Community Solutions at 2pm in Volunteer Park Pasco, WA as we come together for the 3 month anniversary of Antonio Zambrano-Montes’ death.
Use the facebook event page to organize carpools.
Donate to support gas money via this button — PJALS will pass through 100% of donations via this button to folks who are carpooling.
PJALS Members and Smart Justice Supporters Turn Out for CJC Hearing
By Dom Felix, Intern
The Spokane County Commissioners and Mayor Condon appointed a joint City-County Regional Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) in November 2012, charged with recommending reforms to our criminal justice system. The Commission’s final recommendations will provide the “to do list” for City and County elected officials to implement criminal justice reform. Their recommendations were released in a 60 page draft November 1st 2013.
On Nov. 6th the CJC held a hearing to get input from the community. There were nearly 150 community members at the hearing. Read more »
Why Race Matters
By Jeremiah Manes, Intern
On October 22nd, members of PJALS along with others in the community were able to attend a workshop by Glenn Harris titled, “Why Race Matters: Tools and Strategies for Strengthening Community.” This interactive workshop on bias and race allowed for participants to assess their organization and it’s possible contribution to disparity, while fostering conversations on questions such as, “Why does race matter?” 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
It is the Zimmerman mindset that must be found guilty
Like millions of people across the country, I was very saddened when I learned a Florida jury had found George Zimmerman not guilty of murder nor manslaughter for shooting and killing Trayvon Martin. 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 »
Facing Race: Coalition Calls on Legislators to Work Towards Racial & Economic Equity
by Lucia Vazquez
Our WA legislature received a D for its voting on racial equity bills for the 2011 and 2012 sessions. The grade came from Washington Community Action Network’s Facing Race: 2012 Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity, which assessed the Washington Legislature’s performance during the 2011 and 2012 regular sessions on issues that affect racial and economic equity. The report was endorsed by 52 organizations across the state, including PJALS. The goal of this report was to educate legislators about the impact their decisions have on communities of color that make up about 30% of Washington residents, but also to spread awareness of advancing racial equity within our state. Read more »
The Time Is Now: Safe & Just Alternatives to the Death Penalty
by Shar Lichty
PJALS’ Inland NW Death Penalty Abolition Group (INDPAG)has been working toward ending the death penalty for decades through raising awareness among the public. The statewide campaign Safe & Just Alternatives (SJA) could win legislation to end it soon!
The death penalty is an unjust, unfair, and irrational punishment that does not deter crime. The death penalty costs tax-payers more than life imprisonment, with majority of these extra costs being incurred during the trial phase. The death penalty is arbitrary in small part due to geography, with smaller counties unable to incur the cost, and in large part due to race. Washington’s death row currently houses 8 individuals, 4 of which are African American males. Read more »