A local criminal justice system that makes sense.
It is clear in Whatcom County that it is time for our community to come together for dialogue, learning, and supporting positive change in the local criminal justice system. The County has asked the voters twice to approve a tax for a new jail, and twice we have rejected it. It is time for us to figure out where to go from here.
The Whatcom Justice Network is committed to informing and influencing justice planning and policy, That means that we will work with our county leaders and elected representatives; we will support the work of the Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Taskforce; and strive for collaboration and informed dialogue with decision-makers.
We are aligned with criminal justice reform initiatives, such as efforts to reform bail and create pre-trial risk assessments, efforts to create robust pretrial services and true diversion from the jail, and efforts to increase treatment options for individuals who suffer from alcohol or substance disorders or mental illness.
We support the work of locating and/or renovating, or building a reasonably budgeted, right-size jail. We support the County's listening sessions underway and will work to hold our county officials accountable to a transparent planning process. We will help answer the questions - who should be in our jail, and what is our jail for?
And finally, we will do the work required to make positive change happen. That means research, advocacy, and building a network.