June 8, 2017 Dena Jensen
At the Public Hearing at next week’s County Council Meeting on Tuesday June 13 at 7 p.m. (rally at 6:00 beforehand), it seems our comments on jail bed numbers (the number of people we envision being incarcerated in our county in the future) need to be based on all the best statistical data we have in our private-citizen hands that supports that we now have all the tools at our disposal, and will continue to have more, that will allow a reduction in the number of people we are incarcerating and that we are ready to begin a new age that abandons our failed justice system.
At the tail end of the long, long, discussion at last Tuesday’s County Council meeting between Council Members and the County Executive, the Council’s decisions boiled down to the majority of Council Members agreeing to stay on a timetable that would permit the jail sales tax to get on the November ballot.
To my understanding, the public hearing to gain input about the number of beds was agreed on in case public citizens, organizations, or the city councils can provide data that would sway the council from actually putting the tax on the ballot.
From Tim Johnson’s Gristle this week about the latest decisions by Whatcom County and Bellingham on the Whatcom County Jail:
“City Council member Dan Hammill summed up the malaise: ‘The overall fundamental problem with this is that we’re being asked to do our work out of order. We are out of order and in isolation of mitigating facts in one of the most costly and important decisions in this county’s history.
“’We’re not being asked to consider reforms and improvements to our local criminal justice system in determining the size, location and costs of the jail—in fact, those items aren’t even up for discussion,” he said. “Decision makers, including voters, need to have data and information. We do not have the benefit of that at all.’”
Click the graphic below to access the Facebook event for the rally before the June 13, 2017 public hearing:
Click the graphic below to access another Facebook event for the June 13, 2017 public hearing: