Editorial: Jailing not always smart justice

Editorial Published in The Spokesman Review on October 25, 2015

Excerpt:

“It’s not unusual to hear social justice advocates and defense attorneys call for criminal justice reform, but on Wednesday more than 130 prominent prosecutors and police officials from around the country joined the movement.

“This group, called Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration, pinpointed its concerns in a USA Today op-ed, writing, ‘Our experience and research show that good crime control policy is not about locking up everyone. It’s about locking up the right people.'”

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The Price of Freedom

By Mitch Ryals

Published in The Inlander on September 09, 2015 

Excerpt:

“In a country that incarcerates more people awaiting trial than any other in the world — about 500,000 people on any given day, according to the National Institute of Corrections — the consequences of lockup, even for a few days, are well established. People lose jobs and the ability to pay back their debts. They’re kicked out of their homes. Parents lose custody of children. Their mental health deteriorates. Some die.

“The Inland Northwest is no exception to the national trend. Half of the Spokane County Jail’s population in 2014 was people awaiting trial, and a one-day snapshot in June of this year reveals that 440 out of 610 inmates — 72 percent — were held on bail. Similarly, a one-day snapshot of Kootenai County’s jail population reveals that 74 percent were accused, but not convicted.”

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Troubled Tales – Smart Justice works to leverage personal stories into policy reforms

By Jacob Jones

Published in The Inlander on November 19, 2014

Excerpt:

“Each story swerves from despair to hope, sometimes several times. As men and women step to the microphone at the Smart Justice Symposium on Saturday, they share troubling testimony of criminal childhoods, institutional injustice, abuse and often redemption.

“But each story eventually reaches a tipping point in which the narrator gets a new chance or embraces a revelation. Every speaker took advantage of treatment and now works with community groups to reform the criminal justice system. The crowd of nearly 300 symposium attendees applauds when the speakers share that they have since left probation, graduated college, or stayed seven years sober.”

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Symposium on tested, creative justice reform aims to maintain local momentum

By Rachel Alexander

Published in The Spokesman Review on November 08, 2014

“Adler is one of two keynote speakers at Spokane’s upcoming Smart Justice Spokane Community Symposium on Nov. 15 at the Gonzaga University School of Law. The symposium, organized by a coalition of local advocacy and community groups, will bring people together to talk about addressing root causes of crime and continuing to implement reforms in law enforcement.

“The symposium is free and open to the public, though preregistration is encouraged to make sure there are enough meals.”

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The Rehabilitation of California’s Ballot Measure

By Vauhini Vara

Published in The New Yorker on October 20, 2014

“In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that California’s prisons, which were then at nearly two-hundred-per-cent capacity, were so overcrowded that detaining anyone in them was a form of cruel and unusual punishment and a violation of constitutional rights.

“Next month, Californians will vote on Proposition 47, an initiative led by the San Francisco district attorney and a former San Diego police chief, which would try to reach the 137.5 per cent overcapacity threshold by changing certain crimes from felonies, which often result in sentences served in state prisons, into misdemeanors, for which county jail time, county supervision, a fine, or some combination of the three is more common.”

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Spokane joining nationwide ‘ban the box’ trend

By Nicholas Deshais

Published in The Spokesman Review on August 5, 2014

“Spokane Mayor David Condon said Monday the city would join a nationwide trend to ‘ban the box’ and no longer ask city job applicants about their criminal background.

“With the move, Spokane joins almost 70 other cities and counties in choosing to ignore an applicant’s criminal history if it doesn’t pertain to the job at hand.”

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City could stop asking some job applicants for criminal history

By Heidi Groover

Published in The Inlander on August 5, 2014

“Spokane could make it easier for those with criminal records to get hired in city jobs. Mayor David Condon announced Monday that he’s asked the city’s Civil Service Commission to change the city’s job application and remove the box asking whether the applicant has a criminal history.

“Condon says he’s also asked the city’s human resources department to wait until later in the application process to run background checks.”

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