BELLINGHAM, WA – On Tuesday, Feb. 7, the Justice Project Planning Team will present the Stakeholder Advisory Committee’s (SAC) Justice Project Needs Assessment report to the Whatcom County Council. The report establishes a vision, values, and goals for the criminal legal system in Whatcom County and makes recommendations to address the community’s public health, safety, and justice facility needs.
“Over the last year, SAC members with diverse perspectives demonstrated great dedication to identifying needs for improvements to the systems, services, and facilities in our criminal legal system,” said SAC Chair and County Council Chair Barry Buchanan. “This Needs Assessment is different than any other effort on this topic in the past. The SAC reviewed a ton of community input from the public, including over 1,700 survey responses and outreach to priority audiences such as tribal nations, Latinx communities, and people with lived experience in the criminal legal system.”
The resulting report examines data, identifies gaps in the current community response, and considers what it would take to fill gaps to improve health and public safety. The recommendations are intended to work together towards a new, strategic and balanced approach that addresses diverse needs and priorities in our community. A resolution of acceptance will be considered by the Council on February 21, 2023. The Justice Project Needs Assessment is available online at www.whatcomcounty.us/justice.
The Stakeholder Advisory Committee is a 38-member committee formed to create a public health, safety, and justice facility needs assessment. The SAC includes behavioral health and criminal justice advocates, behavioral health and housing service providers, individuals with experience in the criminal legal system, members of the Incarceration Prevention & Reduction Task Force, and leadership from the County, City of Bellingham, and the small cities.
For more information, please visit www.whatcomcounty.us/justice or call the County Council Office at 360-778-5010.