Join us to mobilize voters and say NO on Measure 1!
The work detailed on this page is led by the Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane as an extension of our support to the Justice Not Jails Coalition and larger Justice Not Jails campaign. For more information on the work specific to the Justice Not Jails Coalition, click here.
About Ballot Measure 1
When ballots arrive in our mail boxes in October, Spokane County voters will be asked to approve a 0.2% sales tax increase to fund two new jail buildings and other unspecified programs. Over the next 30 years, around $1.7 billion will be raised by this sales tax. 40% will go to the individual cities in Spokane County, and the rest will go directly to the county. The massive jail expansion that Commissioners Kerns, Kuney, and French are pushing for will suck hundreds of millions of dollars away from other needs. That is why we are saying NO to Measure 1!
Upcoming opportunities to get involved
Saturday, September 30
Join us for the 14th Annual Peace & Justice Conference in person at the Spokane Central Library or virtually on Zoom! This year’s Mobilization Track of conference workshops focus on taking tangible action to defeat ballot Measure 1 this fall through voter contact and education. You will have the option to participate in workshops like:
- How to Have 1-on-1 Conversations About Measure 1 with Cori Jaeger (PJALS), Chad Kuntz (PJALS), & Raven Tyler (Northwest Passage Consulting)
At a family dinner, at your faith community, or over coffee — conversations are a powerful opportunity! The most effective way to move anyone to action is through a 1-on-1 conversation! Join us to learn about Measure 1 and how you can weave in key ingredients that create commitments for action. You will leave ready to talk to friends, family, or voters about why they should vote No on Measure 1.
- No on Measure 1: Hands-On Outreach Calling Voters with Liz Moore (PJALS), Union Carter (PJALS), Pascal Bostic (PJALS), Ellis Benson (PJALS), Adalayda Rios (PJALS), & Raven Tyler (Northwest Passage Consulting)
Are you interested in talking to voters and want to make a positive impact on this fall’s election? Join us in calling our community members to educate them about Measure 1 and the dangerous effects of massive jail expansion! This workshop is your opportunity to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to effectively engage with voters and urge them to vote No on Measure 1.
- Race-Class Analysis: Building a collective strategy (that wins!) with Michaela Brown (PJALS & Philanthropy Northwest) & Bex Matthews (PJALS)
When we join together with a common understanding and analysis of oppression, the strength and power of our voices propels the movement for racial and economic justice forward. But what does it mean to build a collective analysis? How do we use that analysis to call more people into the movement and secure key policy wins? And how do we do this in the context of select politicians who continually try to divide us along racial lines through fear-based, coded racist messaging? Through the Building Organizing Leadership Development (BOLD) project at PJALS, we try to answer these questions by developing a shared Race-Class Analysis. The Race-Class Analysis is an intersectional framework of understanding that names both race- and class-based oppression in the context of current social issues (like mass incarceration). It relies on the understanding that, while select politicians want us to think we have more in common with wealthy elites than we do with our neighbors down the road, we know the only way to achieve racial and economic justice is through cross-race cross-class movement building. We use the Race-Class Analysis to create strategic and intentional messages that have been proven to reach larger audiences and advance progressive policy agendas. Join us for this abbreviated introduction to BOLD, the Race-Class Analysis, and how intentional and collective analysis can get us closer to the equitable and just communities we envision.
- And more!
Official Ballot Measure Language
Measure No. 22-0824
Two-tenths of one percent sales and use tax for criminal justice, public safety, correctional infrastructure, and behavioral health purposes.
The Board of Spokane County Commissioners adopted Resolution No. 22-0824 concerning sales and use tax increase pursuant to RCW 82.14.450.
If approved, the County may impose an additional 0.2% county-wide sales and use tax commencing April 1, 2024, and terminating December 31, 2054, to be used by county, cities, and towns within Spokane County for criminal justice, public safety, behavioral health, and including building and improving jails or correctional facilities provided in Resolution No. 22-0824.
Should this measure be approved?
Yes ……………………………………. [ ]
No ……………………………………. [ ]
Why is this campaign important?
Across Spokane County, many of us know all too well the pain of seeing a loved one struggle with addiction, mental health, or homelessness, or have experienced these struggles ourselves. But today, certain politicians are trying to make us fear each other based on racial profiling and cruel stereotypes about houseless people so that we won’t join together to demand proven solutions to help our loved ones in crisis. They invent false claims about the need for a massive jail expansion to prop up their political careers and the agendas of their big donors. Locking away people for their struggles is a choice we don’t need to keep making.
By voting down massive jail expansion and then boosting resources for housing, treatment and recovery, we give our loved ones the chance to get the support they need to thrive. Someone you love might need you to say no to Measure 1.
At the Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane, we commit to ending mass incarceration & systemic racism in Spokane County. We commit to voting NO on Measure 1 – will you join us? (Fill out the form below.)
5 Reasons to Vote NO on Measure 1
1. Jail is the most expensive and least effective way of creating community safety.
70% of Spokane County’s $140 million budget is already spent on the criminal justice system. We pay $126 every day to house each inmate.
Every consultant, committee, task force, and community process for the last decade has told the county to jail fewer people and make our community safer through proven strategies for recovery, healing, and support rather than creating more jail cells.
2. The jail system is dangerous.
Since 2000, Spokane County has paid more than $4.4 million for settlements related to 10 jail deaths, injuries and sexual misconduct claims. Three additional lawsuits are pending regarding three additional deaths. Community members in crisis need care, not more cages.
We have seen 3 people die in the Spokane County Jail while they were awaiting trial since May 2023 alone. People who are incarcerated while awaiting trial have not been convicted of the crime they are accused of and are usually only being held because they cannot afford bail. This most often affects people who have are living in poverty, have low-income, or are unhoused. To learn more about these deaths, refer to this article from the Spokesman-Review: “Three Spokane County Jail inmates have died in less than two months”.
3. Incarceration is systemically racist.
- In 2015 and again in 2019: data snapshot showed African Americans were 12% of jail population (vs 2% of county population); Native Americans were 7% (vs 1.5% of county population). Data from police and sheriff show racial disparities in stops initiated by officers–they stop Black and Brown people more!
- On average, people of color are given higher bail amounts, booked into jail upon charging more frequently and sentenced to jail more often than white people, according to an analysis of 2016 data by the W. Heywood Burns Institute.
- 2018-2020 JFA Institute analysis shows Black people in Spokane County are incarcerated at almost 10 times the rate of white people; Indigenous people are incarcerated at almost 8 times the rate of white people.
- When COVID safety releases happened, the white population at the jail dropped 33% (from 612 to 408) and the Black population dropped 12% (from 103 to 91.)
- This systemically racist, harmful system must not be allowed to expand.
4. Jail is not a safe place for detox, healing, or recovery.
It is estimated by the mental health team in the jail that around 80% of people jailed have substance abuse and/or mental health issues.
The vast majority of the people in the jail are people being held on low level charges, people awaiting trial who cannot afford bail, and people who have been failed by other systems. People living in poverty and unhoused people are trapped in this system. Jail should not be a replacement for mental health supports or substance abuse disorder treatment, affordable and supportive housing, or for any other service.
5. We need to invest in people, not jails!
Our community needs a robust, diversified, integrated, community-based network for community safety and wellness. That starts with fully funding and implementing the common-sense reforms recommended by the Blueprint for Reform in 2013 and the Justice Task Force in 2020. Our county needs to expand and fully fund culturally appropriate diversion; peer support; supported pretrial release; programming and support for mental health needs, substance abuse disorder, and co-occurring needs; and wrap-around re-entry services. The first step toward this vision now is voting NO on Measure 1!