City, county plan joint criminal justice review

Will evaluate recommendations, implementation strategies

Brian Coddington City Communications Director, 509.625.6740; Martha Lou Wheatley-Billeter, County Communications Manager, 509.477.7195

Friday, January 10, 2014 at 12:26 p.m.

The City of Spokane and Spokane County announced today plans for joint review and evaluation of the Spokane Regional Criminal Justice Commission recommendations and consideration of implementation strategies.

Criminal Justice Commission members James Murphy, a retired state and federal judge, James McDevitt, a former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, and Phillip Wetzel, a Spokane attorney, conducted the evaluation and prepared the report at the request of the Mayor, Spokane City Council and Spokane County Commissioners. The Commission, which officially delivered its report today, engaged in more than 140 hours of presentations, tours, and research looking for opportunities to improve services, eliminate duplicate services, create efficiencies and reduce recidivism.

“The Criminal Justice Commission has done a great job identifying and summarizing our criminal justice needs and pointing us toward solutions based on pockets of excellence identified at all levels,” Condon said. “We very much appreciate their hard work and service. Our responsibility is to continue the public dialogue as we work on strategies for implementation, identify potential funding sources and develop a timeline.”

“We thank the Criminal Justice Commission for all of its hard work. This was a group of individuals with a deep understanding of our system and with no vested interest in the outcome. Moving the focus of our criminal justice system from an offense-based system to an offender-based system will go a long way in focusing on repeat offenders and reducing recidivism,” Mielke said.

“The City Council looks forward to implementing these well-thought-out recommendations as fast as possible,” said Ben Stuckart, City Council president.

The Commission broke its work into three categories: an overview of the criminal justice system, context for reform and recommendations. Its report made recommendations in the areas of governance and general operations, coordinated information systems, law enforcement, pre-trial services, courts, prosecution, indigent defense, detention services, probation services, and resources and priorities. The full report is available at and

Gloria Ochoa, the City's director of local government and multicultural affairs, and John Dickson, the County's chief operating officer, will lead the effort on behalf of their respective agencies. Their work will include formation of subject-matter work groups and outreach to internal and external stakeholder groups to evaluate components of the report for recommendations.

Stakeholder groups are encouraged to contact Ochoa at 625.6326 or and Dickson at 477.5770 or

About Spokane County

Spokane County government serves 485,000 citizens and 14 municipal jurisdictions, making it the fourth largest county in the State of Washington. Counties are responsible for implementing the state's criminal justice system. Approximately 73% of the Spokane County's annual budget is dedicated to criminal justice and law enforcement. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.