Ed Murray, Mayor
7/21/2011 3:25:00 PM
Gary Ireland (206) 684-8710
Seattle Community Court Theft Awareness Class
(Seattle) On July 11, Seattle Municipal Court began offering a theft awareness class for defendants who are charged with theft of merchandise in the amount of $500 or less and who appear in Community Court. The class is eight hours and is designed to provide defendants an opportunity to learn about the impacts of theft on the broader community. "The value of the theft awareness class is that it adds another key component that is meant to address the root issue of criminal behavior," states Craig Sims, Criminal Division Chief in the Seattle City Attorney’s Office. Defense attorneys believe that the program is another great opportunity and tool that will assist community court clients in reducing their contact with the criminal justice system by teaching them how to make wiser and better choices for themselves, according to Karen Murray, Supervising Attorney from the Associated Counsel For The Accused. Class participation will be an additional requirement to the community service hours normally imposed on Community Court defendants. Classes will be held at the court’s resource center on the second floor of the Justice Center and facilitated by volunteers. Five people completed the first class and between 10-14 are expected for the second class on July 25.
Seattle Community Court’s new Theft Awareness Program is the culmination of partners working together. Community Court stakeholders, including the Metropolitan Improvement District, the Seattle Police Department, AmeriCorps, and Tricia Lapitan, the Community Court analyst, provided support in the initial stages of development. They also play a critical role within the program, serving as guest speakers on the Community Court Panel. During this 45 minute roundtable discussion, defendants hear from a rotating group of business and community leaders who can provide a unique perspective on how theft impacts the community at large.