Can Seattle Community Court Reduce Incarcerations?

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Sep 14

Lewis & Laws

Can Seattle Community Court Reduce Incarcerations?

by Lewis & Laws

Can Seattle Community Court Reduce Incarcerations?

In August 2020, a new Seattle Community Court launched. This court has two main goals: to reduce incarceration in the city and resolve low level, non-violent cases quickly. They believe that low-level criminal cases can best be resolved by connecting offenders to community resources, not by placing them in prison. This type of justice reform may help already overcrowded jails and prisons in the state and prevent many of them from becoming repeat offenders.

The Seattle Community Court (SCC) has been in the works for years and is a collaborative effort between three departments. Those departments are the Seattle Municipal Court, the Seattle City Attorney's Office and the King County Department of Public Defense. In starting the SCC, they hope to reduce racial disproportionality in the system. In addition, they want to ensure that all individuals charged with low-level crimes get connected to services in the community that can address the underlying causes of the criminal behavior.

How will they do this?

The SCC will dismiss a case when the arrested offender achieves their individualized goals in a specified time frame - typically 14 to 45 days. Unlike other programs, participation in this program does not give up an offender's right to trial and eligibility into the program is not affected by previous criminal history.

Individuals who choose to participate in the SCC will get immediately released to begin connecting to the community services they need. Behavioral health and substance abuse issues often need resources to help them meet their basic needs, as well as services to help them receive the medical care they require.

This alternative to traditional prosecution is an exciting step for the city and for criminal justice reform. It takes a non-punitive and restorative approach to encourage individuals away from crime and helps them find the resources they need to move forward into a brighter future.

SCC will be held every Monday and Thursday starting at 9:00 a.m. in SMC Courtroom 901. The Seattle City Attorney’s Office will make the necessary referrals for the program. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a limited number of people are able to enter the courthouse.

These new and exciting programs can help individuals charged with low level, non-violent misdemeanors. If you believe that you may qualify or if you are uncertain if you do, it is important to contact an experienced Seattle criminal defense attorney. There are new options that may be available to you and can help you avoid jail time and a criminal record.

Our lawyers will work aggressively to help you get the resources you need during this difficult time. If the SCC is an option, we can help you through the process and make sure you have the support you need to make the best legal choices for your future.

Contact Our Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyers Today

If you are arrested and charged with a crime in Seattle, we want to be the first call you make. Our Seattle criminal defense attorneys know how to protect you and your future after an arrest. We can keep you out of jail and even get the charges against you reduced or dismissed.

The experienced criminal defense lawyers at Lewis & Laws, PLLC, have helped and defended clients in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, and Kirkland. Contact us today at 206.209.0608 or fill out our confidential contact form. We know how to fight criminal charges aggressively. Call us today to begin defending against serious criminal charges.

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