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Regional News

Spokane City Council Adopts Principles For Operating Criminal Justice System

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Screenshot from City Cable 5
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The Spokane City Council has adopted principles it says the city will consider as it operates its part of the county’s criminal justice system.

The resolution includes language adopted by a local task force that has evaluated Spokane’s criminal justice system.

Council President Breean Beggs says the measure calls on that system to ensure equity for people of all ethnic groups and identities.

“I think it’s a great day for Spokane to continue to lead the way on reforming our criminal justice in a way that saves money, reduces crime, increases equity and reclaims lives," Beggs said.

The resolution calls on the county to treat people who interface with the justice system in a humane way. It calls on local officials to invest more in programs that help people with their substance abuse and behavioral health problems.

The vote was six-to-one with Councilman Michael Cathcart voting against. Cathcart said he supports the goals of making the justice system more equitable, but he believes the resolution takes away valuable tools used by judges. Those tools attempt to keep defendants waiting for trials from committing crimes.

“I really think that those have to be a consideration for a judge in terms of whether or not to set bail at a higher level or to release on their own recognizance. I do think bail reform is important but we have to have a broader discussion," Cathcart said.

Earlier this month, Council President Beggs and Mayor Nadine Woodward announced they’ve identified two dozen principles on which they’ll focus the ongoing police reform discussion.