On August 7, 2019, the Whatcom County Council unanimously approved Resolution 2019-036, adopting a statement of public health, safety, and justice facility planning principles 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 (SAC) for the Public Health, Safety and Justice Facility Needs Assessment. Council later amended (AB2020-083) the SAC membership to include 20 citizen members, making the SAC a total of 36 members.
On February 11, 2020, the Whatcom County Council authorized a contract for consultant services to complete the Public Health, Safety, and Justice Needs Assessment (AB2020-055). Click here to view a presentation from HOK, the contracted firm that will lead an interdisciplinary team of professionals with expertise in behavior health, criminal justice, facility design, and public outreach as well work closely with stakeholders to complete the 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.