April 19. 2016 Wendy Harris
You are probably asking yourself, “what is that?” Well, at least I did since I never heard about it until I saw that was the last item on the council’s actions for review this evening.So then I looked at the applications and that is when things got interesting. The first applicant had a long resume heavy on anti terrorism and border patrol enforcement/military type actions. The second applicant has a legal career as a prosecutor. In other words, things look pretty stacked on the law side of law and justice.
So then, because inquiring minds want to know, I looked up the law and justice council and here is what the county website stated:
The Law and Justice Council was formed to provide a permanent ongoing forum and structure to coordinate and enhance criminal and juvenile justice agencies, programs and services in Whatcom County. Currently inactive.
There was more information available when I checked the link for committees that are soliciting members. And further info at http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/847 indicated that this was about the crowding issue at the jail.
Most of the members of this council are heavy on police enforcement and the Prosecutor’s Office and the Executives Office and the Sheriff’s Office. There is one, just one, citizen representative. Personally, I do not think either of these applicants should be chosen for the citizen position. I am sure they could competently fulfill many of the other positions on this council.
But this is the council’s one opportunity to appoint someone from the social justice community to provide an different perspective and viewpoint. To council’s credit, they are not taking action tonight. I would strongly urge someone interested in social justice and the jail issue to step up and submit an application so that there will be at least one voice for the prisoners on this council.
Read Wendy’s post in the Bellingham Racial Justice Facebook group here.