What incarceration prevention and reduction strategies are being implemented?

The Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force (IPRTF) has introduced and helped facilitate a number of strategies to lead people out of the criminal legal system including incarceration alternatives, prevention and diversion programs, and process improvements.

  • Some alternatives to incarceration already in use are electronic home detention, work/school release, and work crews.
  • Several programs have also been implemented to reduce incarceration including the County’s GRACE and LEAD programs.
  • Whatcom County has also developed several specialized courts that offer alternatives to incarceration such as Recovery Court, Family Recovery Court, and Mental Health Court.
  • Court and prosecutor systems have also undergone changes with the Superior Court adopting use of the Public Safety Assessment, a pretrial risk assessment tool that helps judges make decisions about releasing or detaining individuals who are waiting for a court date.

Learn more about efforts to reduce the size of the jail population

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1. What's in the Justice Project Implementation Plan?
2. Who is guiding the work of the Justice Project?
3. What is the timeframe for proposed projects in the draft Implementation Plan?
4. How is the work of the current Justice Project different than previous efforts and ballot measures?
5. How will the public be informed about progress toward implementation plan projects and goals? How will the county be transparent in tracking progress?
6. How can community members provide feedback, ask questions, and offer input on the Justice Project and Implementation Plan?
7. What funding is available for proposed projects in the Implementation Plan?
8. What efforts have already been made to increase and enhance services for substance use disorder, mental health, and emergency response in Whatcom County?
9. What incarceration prevention and reduction strategies are being implemented?
10. How are people with lived experience and BIPOC communities involved in this process?
11. Who will provide oversight for Implementation projects?
12. What is the plan for replacing the jail?
13. Will funding a new jail and behavioral health center limit or reduce funding for substance use disorder, mental health, and other wraparound services?
14. Who is in the Whatcom County Jail, and why are they in jail?
15. Why are people in the jail pretrial?
16. Can the County eliminate bail?
17. What criteria are used to determine jail size, and how many beds are being proposed?
18. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each proposed location for a new jail and behavioral health and treatment facility?
19. What are the cost estimates for all the proposed facilities?
20. How was money from the 2004 tax (ballot measure) spent?