Chapter 2.46
INCARCERATION PREVENTION AND REDUCTION TASK FORCE

Sections:

2.46.010    Established.

2.46.020    Purpose.

2.46.030    Function.

2.46.040    Permanent members.

2.46.050    Additional appointed members.

2.46.060    Terms of office for appointed members.

2.46.070    Organization – Meetings.

2.46.080    Staff and funding support.

2.46.090    Reporting.

2.46.010 Established.

There is hereby established a Whatcom County incarceration prevention and reduction task force. (Ord. 2015-037 Exh. A; Ord. 2015-025 Exh. A).

2.46.020 Purpose.

The purpose of the incarceration prevention and reduction task force is to continually review Whatcom County’s criminal justice and behavioral health programs and make specific recommendations to safely and effectively reduce incarceration of individuals struggling with mental illness and chemical dependency, and minimize jail utilization by pretrial defendants who can safely be released. (Ord. 2015-037 Exh. A; Ord. 2015-025 Exh. A).

2.46.030 Function.

The task force will consider national best practices and report on and make recommendations to the county council, executive, and other appropriate officials regarding:

A. The construction and operation of a new or expanded multi-purpose crisis triage facility to assist with jail and hospital diversion of individuals struggling with mental illness and chemical dependency;

B. Development of new, or enhancement of existing, programs designed along a continuum that effectively reduces incarceration of individuals struggling with mental illness and chemical dependency;

C. Effective pretrial service programs that assure that defendants appear for court proceedings while minimizing jail utilization by defendants who can safely be released;

D. Necessary and effective programs and services that can assist offenders with successful transition from both the jail and triage center back to the community to reduce rates of recidivism and improve public health and safety;

E. The ongoing staff support and funding for the task force;

F. Review of the diversion programs of the county and all cities, and establishment of benchmarks to measure the effectiveness of the programs in reducing incarceration. (Ord. 2015-037 Exh. A; Ord. 2015-025 Exh. A).

2.46.040 Permanent members.

The incarceration prevention and reduction task force shall include the following 13 designated officials or their representative:

A. One member of the Whatcom County council;

B. Whatcom County executive;

C. Whatcom County sheriff;

D. Whatcom County prosecuting attorney;

E. Whatcom County public defender director;

F. One representative from the Whatcom County superior court or district court;

G. One representative of the Bellingham city attorney or municipal court or police;

H. One representative from the Bellingham city council;

I. City of Bellingham mayor or designee;

J. One representative from the small cities designated by the Small Cities Caucus;

K. One tribal representative from either the Lummi Nation or the Nooksack Tribe;

L. One representative from the Whatcom County health department human services;

M. North Sound Mental Health Administration executive director. (Ord. 2015-037 Exh. A; Ord. 2015-025 Exh. A).

2.46.050 Additional appointed members.

In addition to the officials designated above, the incarceration prevention and reduction task force shall include the following 11 members appointed by the Whatcom County council:

A. Whatcom Alliance for Health Advancement (WAHA) representative;

B. Peace Health St. Joseph’s Medical Center representative;

C. Community Health Center representative;

D. Emergency medical services (EMS) representative;

E. Representatives from a community action agency, a mental health provider, and substance abuse treatment provider (three);

F. Consumer of services or family member of consumer (two);

G. Concerned citizens (two). (Ord. 2015-037 Exh. A; Ord. 2015-025 Exh. A).

2.46.060 Terms of office for appointed members.

The term of office for appointed members shall be four years; provided, that the terms of those first appointed shall be staggered so that five will be appointed for two years and six will be appointed for four years. Appointment of members shall comply with Chapter 2.03 WCC. (Ord. 2015-037 Exh. A; Ord. 2015-025 Exh. A).

2.46.070 Organization – Meetings.

A. Meetings of the task force shall be open and accessible to the public and shall be subject to the Open Public Meetings Act.

B. At every meeting, the task force will schedule an open session to take public comment.

C. Written records of meetings, resolutions, research, findings and recommendations shall be kept and such records shall be submitted to county staff and shall be made public, including posting on the county website.

D. The task force shall adopt its own rules and procedures for the conduct of business.

E. The task force shall elect a chairperson from among its members who shall preside at its meetings.

F. The task force shall determine its meeting schedule and agenda, but shall meet at least quarterly.

G. The task force may form and appoint ad hoc committees to work on specific issues, so long as at least two committee members are also members of each ad hoc committee. (Ord. 2015-037 Exh. A; Ord. 2015-025 Exh. A).

2.46.080 Staff and funding support.

The task force will have full support from the council, the county executive’s office, health department staff, and locally delivered paid consultant assistance to conduct and complete its tasks in an efficient and effective manner. (Ord. 2015-037 Exh. A; Ord. 2015-025 Exh. A).

2.46.090 Reporting.

At least annually, no later than June 30th of each year, the task force will provide a report and recommendations to the county council and executive on outcomes of existing incarceration prevention and reduction programs throughout Whatcom County, new innovative programs being used in other communities, and recommendations for changes or additional programs. (Ord. 2015-037 Exh. A; Ord. 2015-025 Exh. A).