Maggie Yates

Spokane County

The American court system can be difficult to navigate, especially for people who don’t deal regularly with it. Spokane County has taken one temporary step to help those who have court-related questions.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

During the last few weeks, Spokane County judges have been reviewing the cases of people who are incarcerated at the county jail and the Geiger Correctional Center. Many of the inmates held on lower-level charges were released on their own recognizance as a way to reduce their exposure in case someone in the jail tests positive for the coronavirus.

Members of the Spokane Smart Justice Coalition, including Carmen Pacheco-Jones, applaud that.

Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Coalition

Today on Inland Journal, advocates who work with domestic violence survivors worry all this time at home may put their clients in danger.

Spokane County has released inmates from its jails to protect them from the coronavirus. We’ll about concerns about that members of the Smart Justice Spokane Coalition

And what’s medical education without in-person examinations? It’s all about Zoom. We’ll hear how the University of Washington medical school has adapted.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Today on Inland Journal, two items about making improvements to Spokane County’s criminal justice system. We’ll hear about expanding a well-received program that pairs police officers and mental health professionals on patrol. And a task force studying Spokane’s criminal justice system is coming to consensus on a variety of measures meant to ease the pressure on the overcrowded jail.

Spokane Criminal Justice Town Halls Scheduled This Week

May 20, 2019
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Spokane law and justice officials have begun another phase in their quest to decide whether the city and county should build a new jail.

On Monday and Tuesday they're holding two town hall meetings to give people a chance to offer opinions about the criminal justice system.

The first is at 5:30 today [Monday] at Spokane Valley City Hall. The second is tomorrow [Tuesday] at 5:30 at the Northeast Community Center.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Wednesday on the Inland Journal podcast, will Spokane city and county officials put a jail proposal before voters later this year or next year? It’s still an open question, says Maggie Yates, the administrator of the county’s Regional Law and Justice Council. She tells us the council will hire a New York organization to interview local officials to gather information and opinions about how to move forward.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Is a new jail in Spokane County’s near future? What would it look like? How much would it cost? Those are all open questions.

Spokane local officials are close to hiring a New York organization to gather information to help them make a decision about a new jail.

Spokane County has another big check in the mail from the MacArthur Foundation — that’s the same organization that periodically awards genius grants. The foundation is sending another $1.9 million to Spokane County. That’s on top of a $1.7 million award in 2016.

Spokane County

Talk has arisen again about building a new Spokane County jail. A few weeks ago, Commissioner Al French told us he’s working with the city and other community leaders to craft a ballot measure for funding a new facility.

The jail would be one part of the strategy for reforming the county’s criminal justice system. The Regional Law and Justice Council has been working on and monitoring new ideas and programs as a response to a report called “Blueprint for Reform.” It was issued in 2013 by a three-member regional justice commission.

Maggie Yates is the council’s administrator and she joins us to talk about progress made since 2013.