Members of the High Barrier Individuals Working Group announced four new pilot programs, to be implemented late 2019 and early 2020, that will focus on people cycling through the criminal legal system in Seattle and King County, Washington. The pilots include: a comprehensive place-based treatment center at the “West Wing” of the King County Correctional Facility; a “rapid re-entry connector” program to plan for the release of individuals from jail; “HB probation” to provide better support and accountability; and “case conferencing” by dedicated law enforcement and services staff to develop a coordinated plan for the most high-impact individuals. Convened by Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan, the members have worked together to explore new strategies, systemic reforms, or partnerships needed for a more focused approach to repeat offenders who are not receiving the appropriate interventions.
Under the first pilot, Enhanced Shelter with On Demand Behavioral Health Services, jointly funded by the City and King County, the County will create a 60 bed, 24/7 enhanced shelter that will provide on demand behavioral health, supportive housing, and case management services at King County Correctional Facility. Services will be focused on individuals whose combination of long-term homelessness, unmet behavioral health needs, and lack of consistent connection to services and community brings them into frequent, expensive, and unsuccessful contact with the criminal legal and emergency medical systems. A total of $4 million will be allocated for capital and additional $800,000 for program operations. Following investments in the facility, services are expected to begin by mid-2020.
Under the second pilot, Rapid Re-Entry Connector, the program will address the lack of release planning services available for those who rapidly exit the facility. The program would embed a reentry planner position within Jail Health Services who would triage individuals for services from an array of relevant programs such as LEAD, West Wing Enhanced Shelter, as well as community-based treatment, services, and housing. The City is also providing additional funding to increase capacity for in-jail addiction disorder assessments. Mayor Durkan’s proposed 2020 budget adds $212,500 for the pilot program. The program is expected to begin in early 2020.
The HB probation pilot program would feature a smaller, specialized caseload for Seattle Municipal Court probation counselors who have training in harm-reduction and trauma-informed care strategies for a group of high barrier clients. The counselor will be able to introduce graduated sanctions, offer small incentives for positive behavior, meet with individuals off-site (away from the courthouse), and schedule more frequent review hearings with judges. Balance suspended jail sentences may be offered to provide individuals the opportunity to have their jail sentence shortened if the client is willing to engage in chemical dependency treatment. Mayor Durkan’s 2020 Proposed Budget adds $170,000 for this pilot program. This new funding would be paired with up to $120,000 of additional Municipal Court resources. If approved by City Council, the program could begin as soon as late 2019.
Under the fourth pilot, Case Conferencing & Support by Seattle’s City Attorney’s Office, the program will be responsible for coordination across systems and programs, addressing those high barrier individuals involved in diversion programs, court programs or post-sentencing probation, and working both at a macro level to assess whether existing and proposed pilot programs are working and on individual cases. Mayor Durkan’s 2020 Budget adds $150,000 for an additional Assistant City Attorney position in the Criminal Division to ensure the ability to provide better outcomes and efficient case management. The program is expected to begin in early 2020.
Jenny A. Durkan is the 56th Mayor of Seattle and the first woman to lead the City in nearly a century. Seattle’s Mayor is the head of the Executive department. The Mayor directs and controls all City offices and departments except where that authority is granted to another office by the City Charter.
This was reported by the City of Seattle, Office of the Mayor on September 12, 2019.
Contact information: Office of Major Jenny A. Durkan, 600 4th Avenue, Seattle, Washington, 7th Floor, 98104; Post Office Box, 94749, Seattle, Washington 98124; 206-684-4000; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.seattle.gov/mayor