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Our priority areas for 2016-17
As determined by our member priority survey responses and our Steering Committee!
- A Just Society: Smart Justice and Police Accountability
- Peace: Truth in Recruitment, Consciousness-Raising about Militarism, and Mobilizing against War!
- Human Rights Community Organizing: Building collective power with targeted communities.
- Ending the Death Penalty in Washington as our top legislative priority.
Exposing & transforming systems of violence & oppression to create beloved community and build a just and nonviolent world.
Smart Justice Spokane calls for investigation in jail deaths
Smart Justice Spokane has sent a letter about the five in-custody deaths of Peter O’Brien, John Everitt, Lorenzo Haynes, Scott Stevens, and Tammy Sue Hienen that have occurred this year. The letter, to the Spokane Board of County Commissioners, Spokane Regional Law & Justice Council, and Acting Criminal Justice Administrator Dr. Jacqueline van Wormer, expresses “We believe that the jail should be a place where everyone is safe and receives appropriate health care, including a health assessment at booking.”
Smart Justice Spokane requests investigation and transparency and concludes “We also request that Spokane County and the Spokane Regional Law and Justice Council respond to the findings, advise the community of its plan to make the jail safer, and describe how the efforts will be evaluated.”
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!
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 »
PJALS Priorities for Action 2014-2015
As a collective of activists, PJALS staff, steering committee members, and committee chairs addressed the difficult task of prioritizing efforts when there are seemingly endless injustices being carried out through direct acts and perpetuated through acquiescence and silence. Prioritizing our work aids us in focusing our “hands, heart, and head” efforts for a period of time for the best possible outcomes, leaving room for rapid response to an ever changing landscape.
As the Steering Committee Chairperson, I’m excited to share with you the three PJALS Priorities for Action 2014-2015. With your support through membership, volunteering, showing up, and lending your voice, PJALS can continue the movement for peace and justice. Read more »
Smart Justice Campaign: Ban the Box Win!
The Smart Justice Campaign just had a win! On August 4th, Spokane Mayor David Condon publicly asked the Civil Service to remove the box asking about criminal convictions from city employment applications, and that his administration will make changes to the process for conducting criminal background checks. This announcement comes after Council President Ben Stuckart and Spokane City Council Member Jon Snyder led on this issue by sending a letter to the City’s Civil Service Chief Examiner requesting that they ban the box.
Spokesman-Review wrote a great editorial in support making the connection that reducing barriers to employment for people with criminal records part of implementing smart justice.
This announcement is an important first step in creating fairer opportunities for people with criminal convictions to find employment and move forward. Our thanks and appreciation to Council Member Jon Snyder, Council President Ben Stuckart, and Mayor David Condon. Read more »
Smart Justice: “There’s No Voice Like Your Voice!” PhotoVoice project
I am excited to tell you that PJALS is teaming up with Smart Justice Spokane and I Did The Time to invite you or other folks who’ve experienced the realities of our criminal justice system to tell your own story ! Will you share your experience with law enforcement, courts, and/or jail by joining our Smart Justice PhotoVoice Project? Or, will you invite someone you know? Please contact us to learn more about this exciting PhotoVoice project at firstname.lastname@example.org or 838-7870.
Smart Justice Spokane is a broad, diverse coalition of more than 30 organizations, community members, and criminal justice professionals who have come together to reform our expensive, ineffective, and unfair criminal justice system. Instead of warehousing members of our community in jail, who pose no danger to our neighborhoods, we are urging our elected officials to spend our tax dollars on proven programs that are fiscally responsible, reduce crime, and create a strong and healthy community. PJALS is a proud member of Smart Justice Spokane. Read more »