The Smart Justice Campaign is a broad, diverse coalition of 30 organizations, community members, and criminal justice professionals who have come together to reform our 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 thriving and healthy community.
Spokane County continues to use an outdated system of retribution that incarcerates too many non-violent people at a great cost to taxpayers and local families. This unjust practice targets communities of color, those of us living in poverty, and our neighbors with mental illness, addiction and disabilities. We know it doesn’t have to be this way.
The Smart Justice Campaign is advocating for an end to outdated polices that jail people for failing to pay fines and other non-violent behavior. We are demanding that taxpayer dollars not be used to build more jail beds, but rather are invested in alternatives to incarceration, including diversion from jail, and support services that hold people accountable for their behavior and provide opportunities for change. The results from an assessment of the person’s risk and needs will allow a judge to match each person with the appropriate interventions. We must also take intentional steps to eliminate racial disparities.
By implementing and funding these programs and policies, we will preserve jail beds for high-risk violent offenders who actually pose an imminent danger to our community, and change peoples’ lives so they can get out of the cycle of crime permanently.
This is Smart Justice and Spokane deserves it.