Spokane’s non-profit Center for Justice closes its doors tomorrow [Tuesday]. The center was founded more than 20 years ago by former Spokane County public defender Jim Sheehan to represent people who are treated wrongly by the legal system.
“When the center started, it was really focused on areas like housing, employment, benefits and things like that. It really grew over the years. The center has practiced family law and helped low income folks in family law cases," said Dainen Penta, the center's executive director.
It has expanded into areas such as land use and criminal justice reform. The center’s profile was raised when it represented the family of Otto Zehm, a man who died in the custody of Spokane Police during an arrest.
Penta says the center has struggled to find consistent funding. He says it is working to transition some of its work to others.
“A lot of the work we’ve been doing, especially around criminal justice reform and policy work, police accountability, that work has already been ongoing and there are a lot of community advocates who are doing this work. We are working with those organizations and groups and looking at what other groups are doing this work and how we might bolster their efforts," he said.
You can hear more of our interview with Dainen Penta at the Spokane Public Radio website.