Our quality of life is dependent on how safe we feel in our homes and our communities. Public Safety is about 80% of the County's budget and consists of the Sheriff's Department, Prosecutor's Office, Corrections, Courts, and Juvenile Justice. Although crime statistics has shown an overall decrease in crime it still is a high priority of our residents.
The County needs to be proactive at strategizing how to be prepared to confront this problem. I recognize that we cannot arrest our way out of crime as a solution. Nor do we have the resources. Our jails are expensive to run and are full, our sheriff deputies are overworked and our Courts are backlogged. I support alternative sentencing, restorative justice, prevention -intervention and re-entry programs. My experience on the Tacoma City Council as Chair of the Public Safety, Human Service, and Education Committee, as a member of the Public Safety Committee in the Legislature, as a coordinator of a prevention and intervention program, and as a community organizer of crime prevention efforts enables me to lead the County at exploring: best practices in corrections; developing a risk assessment process to determine who should be jailed vs those that would benefit from alternative sentencing; and leveraging and sharing of services and resources with other jurisdictions. I will make sure the County relies on scholarly research, scientific findings and program evaluation data to make investment and re-investment decisions.
An example of success in this area is in Juvenile Justice. Our Juvenile Courts have moved from a detention model to a focus on Evidence Based Practices of prevention and intervention. Focusing on “The Risk Principle”, Juvenile courts spend resources and attention on those with the highest chance of recidivating, and use a formal assessment tool to make the determination.