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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: Spokane Delegation to Observe Seattle Municipal Court in Action

5/28/2010  9:00:00 AM
Kimberly Mills  (206) 684-8602

Seattle Community Court, a national community court mentor site, will host a site visit for several City of Spokane officials on Tuesday, June 1. Among the visitors will be the Honorable Mary Logan, Presiding Judge, Spokane Municipal Court; Anne Kirkpatrick, the Chief of Police; Steve Hallstrom, the Chief Prosecutor; Howard Delaney, the City Attorney; Donna McBride, the Chief Probation Officer; Kathy Knox, the Chief Public Defender; and Cindy Marshall, Court Administrator.

Seattle Community Court uses a non-traditional approach to address traditional problems in the criminal justice system by requiring individuals who commit quality of life crimes to immediately pay back the communities where they committed their offenses through visible service projects. Typical projects include graffiti removal, cleaning neighborhood parks and streets and helping to maintain public spaces and p-patches. At the same time, Community Court links defendants to social services to help them address the underlying issues that often fuel their criminal behavior.

Since its inception in 2005, Seattle Community Court defendants have contributed more than 31,000 hours of community service to neighborhoods such as Belltown, International District, Lake City and Magnuson Park and have saved approximately $1.6 million in jail costs. These kinds of programs contribute to the decreasing need to build a new jail. Last week, Mayor Mike McGinn announced the City of Seattle had reached an agreement with King County to stay in the current jail until 2020.

Spokane County is hoping to learn more about Seattle Community Court model and other programs that mitigated the need for a new jail. As part of their site visit, Spokane city officials will talk to their counterparts in Seattle, observe a court session, visit some community service sites and tour the Court Resource Center.

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