Spokane’s community court an experiment that’s paying off

By Rachel Alexander

Published in The Spokesman Review on March 7, 2016

Excerpt:

“The phrase “organized chaos” is tossed out more than once by lawyers trying to describe Spokane’s community court.

Aside from the name, there’s little to suggest the weekly session at the downtown library is a court, at least in the traditional sense of the word. People flow freely around the courtroom, which is furnished in plastic chairs with a few folding tables set up in front and in the hallway outside.”

Read More:  Spokane’s community court an experiment that’s paying off

Massachusetts Chief’s Tack in Drug War: Steer Addicts to Rehab, Not Jail

By Katharine Q. Seelye

Published in The New York Times on January 24, 2016

Excerpt:

“Critics said that he did not have the authority to take the law into his own hands and forgo arrests. But other police departments, fed up with arresting addicts and getting nowhere, saw the Gloucester approach as a promising way to address the epidemic of heroin and prescription pain pills, which together killed 47,055 people in 2014 nationwide — more than died in car accidents, homicides or suicides.

“Since the program began, 391 addicts have turned themselves in at the city’s brick police station. About 40 percent are from the Gloucester area; the rest come from all over the country. All have been placed in treatment.

“Just as surprisingly, 56 police departments in 17 states have started programs modeled on or inspired by Gloucester’s, with 110 more preparing to do so.”

Read more:  Massachusetts Chief’s Tack in Drug War: Steer Addicts to Rehab, Not Jail

WSU Spokane professor picked to provide new criminal risk assessment tool

By Kip Hill

Published in the Spokesman Review on January 21, 2016

Excerpt:

“Spokane is partnering with a professor from Washington State University to design a survey that’s expected to do a better job of putting dangerous criminals in jail and pairing lower-risk offenders with the resources they need.

“Spokane County commissioners signed a $70,000 contract with Zach Hamilton earlier this month to design a new risk assessment tool for Spokane’s criminal justice system. The county and city will each pay $35,000 toward laying the groundwork for the new survey.”

Read more: WSU Spokane professor picked to provide new criminal risk assessment tool

 

 

Drug courts work, need more support

Editorial

Published in the Spokesman Review on January 19, 2016

Excerpt:

“Typically, states offer drug courts as an alternative to prison for addicts who are arrested for nonviolent crimes only: In exchange for pleading guilty, a defendant can spend a year undergoing assessment, treatment and monitoring. Crucially, this opportunity is offered under the threat of sanctions (including jail time) for not following the program.

“There’s good evidence that the strategy works: Recidivism rates among people who have participated in drug courts are as much as one-quarter lower than for those who have not, and lower still for those who complete the programs. For every $1 spent on drug courts, a state saves about $2.21 on its criminal justice and corrections systems.”

Read more: Drug courts work, need more support

From Prison to Olympia

By Daniel Walters

Published in The Inlander on January 14, 2016

“Each problem exacerbates the others. When felons leave jail, they’re often left with thousands of dollars of fines and court fees that keep increasing due to unpaid interest. Because they’re felons, they’re barred from getting licenses for jobs — like barber, dietitian, telephone salesman or commercial fisherman — that could help them begin to pay off those fees. Even the jobs they can apply for often ask them to check “felon” on their application, dooming their chance of getting an interview.”

Read more: From Prison to Olympia

Changes to community supervision in Washington state are reducing recidivism and saving money

By Mitch Ryals

Published in The Inlander on November 17, 2015

“Washington state’s community supervision program is one area of the criminal justice system where those who enforce violations were allowed a fair amount of discretion.

“In 2012, a new law stripped officers of their discretion by requiring at least one to three days in jail for low-level violations such as missing a check-in appointment or failing a drug test. The new policies, known as Swift and Certain, also adjusted punishment to be more proportional to the violation. These policies, which went into effect in May 2012, had never before been implemented on a statewide level. ”

Read more: Changes to community supervision in Washington state are reducing recidivism and saving money

Kid’s Court: Local defense attorneys have noticed a change in Prosecutor Larry Haskell’s juvenile justice system

By Mitch Ryals

Published in The Inlander on November 12, 2015 

Excerpt:

“When Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell took office in January, he found a drawer with more than 370 unresolved juvenile cases from the previous county prosecutor, Steve Tucker. Under Tucker, certain cases were kept out of the courtroom, allowing prosecutors and defense attorneys to find reasonable compromises without necessarily tossing every kid into the juvenile justice system.

“Under Haskell, that’s changed.

“For county prosecutors, clearing the backlogged cases represents a commitment to by-the-book prosecution. Haskell, who denies that his office is moving away from a rehabilitative bent, points out that there is nothing in Washington state law explicitly saying that the juvenile justice system is supposed to be rehabilitative.”

Read more: Kid’s Court: Local defense attorneys have noticed a change in Prosecutor Larry Haskell’s juvenile justice system

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