Jan. 23, 2008 at 2:40pm
(Commentary: I receive emails from Jeanie Peterson from Hilltop Action Coaltion frequently. Because of the importance and timing of this issues, I am posting this one. Tacoma and Pierce County are all going to deal with issue together or not at all. Many community residents, the News Tribune and city and county officials are trying to slow down the wave of felons the DOC insists on placing in Tacoma and Pierce County. Check out the document archive for a larger view of the issue. Keep up the great work Jeanie!)
Please read the article below from Kits Merryman about the C4RJ issue, that in combination with her original article (posted at the very bottom in case you missed it) provide you with much of the information that you need.
NOW, WE NEED YOUR HELP!
If you feel strongly about this please send an email to Community, Trade and Economic Development (CTED), in your email address these two main points:
- Security and safety concerns (don’t say “We don’t want felons in the neighborhood” it sounds NIMBY and people can dismiss that)
- Talk about the close proximity to schools and your children
- C4RJ has no relationship with the community or police
- C4RJ’s capacity to handle this grant
- They’ve listed partnerships that don’t exist in the realm that they’ve listed them
- They don’t have a working relationship with the community or law enforcement
- The properties they’ve listed don’t have enough capacity to house the number of people they’re planning on housing there
We have a short window, CTED said that they would hold off on signing the contract until February 1st, they need to hear from the community about this proposal.
The idea of providing services/assistance for 70 high risk/high needs returning offenders is a good idea as long as there’s a strong community safety plan. But it’s not a good idea to put those felons in a couple areas (they need to be disbursed), it’s not a good idea to put them in areas that are low income, and it’s definitely not a good idea to give the contract to a group that isn’t prepared to take on this challenge.
Send emails to: Juli Wilkerson JuliW@CTED.WA.GOV , feel free to Cc any other elected official you choose.
We also recommend sending comments/letters to the Governor's office. This can be done by:
1) Fax (360) 753-4110
2) Send an on-line email comment by going to http://www.governor.wa.gov/contact/default.asp I'd use "Public Safety" as the subject.
3) Write to:
Governor Chris Gregoire
Office of the Governor
It’s easy to get a million-dollar grant from the state Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development – especially if you make up stuff on your grant application.
An organization called Citizens for Responsible Justice was able to more or less dupe the agency into awarding it a $1.1 million grant last month to house released felons in Pierce County.
The Tacoma nonprofit wants to house 70 ex-inmates in a pilot program to test whether stable housing and case management can reduce the number of felons who re-offend.
And where would these participants be housed? Why, in Tacoma’s Hilltop community, of course – the very neighborhood that already gets a grossly disproportionate share of group homes for “high-risk, high needs” people.
Also, see Pierce County Prosecutor Gerry Horne explain how the Department of Corrections is able to continue to place so many felons here:
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