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Stories tagged: criminal justice


With new text reminders, Spokane County criminal justice officials hope to curtail rise in jail population

While county officials wrestle with how best to lower the jail population with the help of a $1.75 million grant, a new system that sends defendants text reminders for upcoming …


UPDATED: Mon., July 16, 2018, 1:01 p.m.

A year after new effort to decrease Spokane County jail population, more inmates were behind bars

Spokane County has hired a new criminal justice administrator to oversee reforms aimed at reducing the county’s jail population and racial disparities. Data from the reform effort so far makes …


McMorris Rodgers tells local officials House-passed prison reform bill ‘a step’ to address overcrowding

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers told a roundtable of local officials Wednesday that a federal prison reform bill passed by Congress last week was “an idea whose time has come.”


Shawn Vestal: Between officials and reformers, a growing rift in efforts to improve Spokane’s criminal justice system

We have plenty to be proud of in the city’s push towards a fairer criminal justice system. But two years after receiving an award from the MacArthur Foundation, a significant …


Meek Mill to focus on criminal justice system in six-part Amazon Prime docuseries

Philly rapper Meek Mill’s experience with the criminal justice system over the past decade will be the focus of an upcoming six-part documentary series from Amazon Prime, Amazon Studios announced …


UPDATED: Mon., Jan. 22, 2018, 9:40 a.m.

Spokane County ex-public defender accused of meth use represented hundreds of clients

From the moment Emily Blumenauer met her court-appointed public defender, she knew something was off. There was the arm scratching, the forgetfulness, the shiny glaze on her eyes that suggested …


UPDATED: Mon., Nov. 27, 2017, 11:02 p.m.

Spokane City Council votes to ‘ban the box’ for private employers, fines delayed one year

A five-vote supermajority of the Spokane City Council voted Monday night to “ban the box” and potentially impose fines on noncompliant businesses beginning in 2019. The law will take effect …


UPDATED: Sat., June 24, 2017, 10:45 p.m.

As groups chafe at pace of criminal justice reform, county administrator points to progress

It’s been a year since Spokane County was awarded a $1.75 million MacArthur Foundation grant to reduce its jail population. And while little has visibly changed since then, Jacqueline van …


Wisconsin Gov. Walker says he won’t remove sheriff over inmate’s dehydration death

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday that he won’t remove Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke from office over the death of an inmate who was denied water for seven days.


UPDATED: Thu., April 20, 2017, 7:26 a.m.

Shawn Vestal: Legalizing marijuana a no-brainer

There are a lot of reasons to celebrate the fact that Washington ended the costly, counterproductive and racist war on marijuana.


UPDATED: Sat., April 15, 2017, 8:53 p.m.

Man wrongly convicted in 1957 killing files federal lawsuit

A Washington state man wrongly convicted in the 1957 kidnapping and killing of a 7-year-old girl has filed a federal lawsuit in Illinois.


U.K. to pardon thousands convicted under past anti-gay laws

Thousands of men who were convicted under now-abolished British laws against homosexuality are to receive posthumous pardons, the government announced Thursday. Those who are still alive can will be eligible …


Spokane County District Court can get by with fewer judges, county commissioners say

With fewer cases moving through Spokane County District Court, county commissioners say there’s no need to replace retiring Judge Sara Derr.


Spokane County Jail receives an additional $1.75 million from MacArthur Foundation to reduce overcrowding

Criminal Justice Adminstrator Jacqueline van Wormer informed stakeholders at the city and county level Wednesday afternoon the national nonprofit had selected Spokane County as one of 11 sites to receive …


GOP Congress being labeled with do-nothing moniker

Congress increasingly is being defined by what it’s not doing this election year.


Spokane parents get alternative to jail, but victims feel slighted

Bryan Morales and Amanda Macklin have received reprieves from jail to care for their young children as part of a sentencing alternative heralded by criminal justice reformers. But victims worry …


WSU Spokane professor picked to provide new criminal risk assessment tool

Zach Hamilton, a professor at WSU Spokane in criminology, will help develop a customized tool for the region to determine who should be in the overcrowded Spokane County Jail and …


Spokane County signs deal with Central Washington counties for mental health beds

Spokane County will get 10 additional beds at Eastern State Hospital for mental health patients as the result of an agreement with Central Washington counties. The deal is necessary after …


Editorial: Jailing not always smart justice

Police, prosecutors join effort to reduce incarceration rates.


UPDATED: Sat., Oct. 17, 2015, 10:17 p.m.

Officials say adding courtroom to jail would ease overcrowding

A regional criminal justice council is considering a proposal to build a courtroom in the Spokane County Jail, a plan jail staff say is a first step towards more systematic …


Criminal justice panel, others have openings

The Spokane Regional Law and Justice Council is looking for two community members interested in aiding efforts to reform the county’s criminal justice system. The group, responsible for evaluating and …


MacArthur Foundation grant will reduce jail crowding

Spokane County has been rewarded for its efforts at criminal justice reform, with the deep-pocketed MacArthur Foundation selecting the area for a competitive grant to reduce overcrowding at the aging …


Effort underway to restore jail’s ‘gallows gates’ at county courthouse

Sue Walker hopes the gates that once welcomed Spokane criminals to their jail cells – and two to their deaths – will return as a symbol on the county courthouse …


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

Most communities would jump at a chance to reduce crime while keeping more people out of jail. Julian Adler is coming to Spokane to show them how it’s done. Adler …


All of us share stake in Gerlach’s defense bill

How much should you and I pay for the defense of Gail Gerlach? A judge will hear arguments today over bills submitted by the legal team for Gerlach, the Spokane …


Spokane Community Court offers chronic offenders another chance

When Aubrey Shults landed in jail in January, it was the end of a long, sad slide. Her longtime boyfriend had left her, and Shults – a drug-addicted 38-year-old who …


Shawn Vestal: Outdated computers say a lot about Spokane County justice system

The elegant, historic Spokane County Courthouse was built almost 120 years ago. The inelegant, historic computer system can’t be much newer.


Shawn Vestal: Merging city, county courts an idea whose time has come again

A former judge, former federal prosecutor and longtime local attorney have taken a close look at the region’s criminal justice system. The trio – dubbed the Spokane Regional Criminal Justice …


Spokane criminal justice reform ideas met with praise

Criminal justice reform ideas for Spokane drew positive reviews Wednesday evening from people knowledgeable about the system. The Spokane Regional Criminal Justice Commission last week released 58 pages of draft …


Lewis and Clark criminal justice studies being expanded

Even a man nicknamed “SuperCop” by his peers gets distracted sometimes. After all, it’s not every day Atifete Jahjaga, the president of Kosovo, calls you personally.