Public Health, Safety & Justice Initiative

On August 7, 2019, the Whatcom County Council unanimously approved Resolution 2019-036, adopting a statement of public health, safety, and justice facility planning principals for Whatcom County. The resolution identifies a need to plan for a criminal justice system that is built to address the root causes of incarceration and designed with rehabilitation as the goal. It acknowledges a desire to prioritize community-based preventative services, maximize successful re-entry, and minimize recidivism. It identifies a need to focus on reducing demand for jail by investing in behavioral health services.  Additionally, the County Council identified a desire for a potential ballot initiative.

On September 10, 2019, Councilmember Barry Buchanan, the Executive's Office, the Sheriff and the Health Department presented to the Council Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee a further developed task list to complete a behavioral health and criminal justice needs assessment and design concepts for a new facility, all with broad participation from the public. Exhibit A will serve as a draft scope of work to procure professional services.

On December 3, 2019, the Whatcom County Council approved Resolution 2019-063 establishing a Stakeholder Advisory Committee for the Public Health, Safety and Justice Facility Needs Assessment.


  • Whatcom County Justice Updates, September 23, 2019  7:00-8:30 p.m..
    Whatcom County Council Chambers, 311 Grand Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225
    Click here to view a press release for this event. 
    Click here to view a video of the meeting.
    Click here to view the presentation slides.

Background Information