The organization that’s helping Spokane County with a deep dive into its criminal justice system is holding two town hall meetings in Spokane this week. The Vera Institute for Justice will also convene a meeting of a local task force that is providing input into the process.
When representatives from the Vera Institute for Justice came to Spokane in May, they held two public meetings that drew about 150 people. Maggie Yates says those forums collected people’s thoughts about the county’s criminal justice system and the aging jail. Yates is the criminal justice administrator for Spokane County.
“I found the conversations incredibly insightful and people really brought a spirit of honesty and respect to those conversations. We came away with some important insights that we will be able to condense and synthesize and report back to the task force," Yates said.
The task force to which she refers is a local stakeholder group convened to analyze information about the county’s current jail, which many local leaders consider inadequate. That group is tasked with recommending how to go forward with a new facility, in whatever form it might take.
Representatives from Vera and the JFA Institute, another national policy organization, have been gathering information about items such as the county jail population and making projections about that for the future.
Yates says they will report back on what they’ve found about the current population.
The public forums will be Wednesday at 5:30 pm at Madison School at 319 West Nebraska and Thursday at 5:30 pm at Hamblen School at 2121 E. Thurston. The justice task force will meet Thursday at 9 at the Spokane Resource Center. It’s also open to the public.