Community

Game Changes

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Prosecution should be less about punishment and more about doing what it takes to keep our community safe. Getting people to change their behavior does not always take the heavy hand of the government. Sometimes a lighter touch is enough to get the message across, which is one of the reasons why we believe that first time, lower-level offenders must be offered treatment options without any incarceration. We also believe that when people get accustomed to incarceration, jail sentences become easier to do and are less impactful in reducing recidivism.

Jailing people for low-level, nonviolent offenses can have the opposite effect of keeping the community safe. In fact, recent studies have shown that incarcerating people for as little as three days greatly increases the likelihood a person will commit another crime within two years. 

We see interventions and treatment versus jail time as central to the recovery of those who are addicted to substances like opiates.

Since January, Whatcom County Drug Court has greatly expanded to being nearly full, and will need critical support services like more treatment options and dedicated housing. To that end, we support the partnership between Opportunity Council and Lifeline Connections to develop and operate a recovery housing program in Bellingham. People in recovery need the stability of housing as well as peer support and clinical services to be successful.

But early interventions are the ones that are most effective: Investing in the future success of our community’s children is the biggest influencer of whether we see them as young adults at the front door of the criminal justice system or on the first day of classes at Whatcom Community College. We both support universal pre-K, free daycare, parenting programs and vocational prep.  So many of the drivers and influencers of how people enter the criminal justice system exist in the social fabric of our community, not the courtroom. Addressing issues like poverty and racial disparities are at the heart of any true criminal justice reform.

As board members of DVSAS (Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services), we are cautiously optimistic about the new offender treatment therapy that the organization is bringing to our community. This evidence-based therapy can help keep survivors safe and treat the root causes of domestic abuse. We also support the new DVSAS shelter for survivors that was opened last year and applaud the leadership of Lydia Place for continuing its mission of breaking the cycle of homelessness by housing women and kids.

For years, there was no reliable third option beyond jail and the hospital’s Emergency Department for officers and deputies who dealt with people in acute substance disorder or mental health psychosis. One of the goals for the Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force was to open a Crisis Stabilization Center (CSC), providing our community with a way to treat people who are in crisis. The CSC will be treating patients in less than a year, but it needs to be funded like a fire station—always ready to serve. Therefore, we support Representative Shewmake’s efforts to secure $1 million in operating funds until the ongoing funding needs for this important local treatment facility get sorted out in Olympia. 

These are game-changing policies and programs, and we know there’s more to do. Working together, the City and County governments will continue to reduce victimization, save taxpayer dollars and transform the lives of those who are involved with our local justice system.

Eric Richey is the Whatcom County Prosecutor. Dan Hammill is president of Bellingham City Council. Both serve on the Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force.

Past Columns
Climate Action Plan

September 1, 2021

Support Transportation Fund

October 21, 2020

Census Countdown

September 30, 2020

Don’t Fence Us Out

July 22, 2020

Back to the wild

May 6, 2020

Every Other Weekly?

April 1, 2020

Unified Command

March 18, 2020

Kids World

January 29, 2020

Fierce Urgency of Now

January 15, 2020

The Three Rs

December 18, 2019

Saying Goodbye

December 11, 2019

Cold and Alone

December 4, 2019

Big Money Politics

November 13, 2019

A Win for the Birds

July 24, 2019

Road to ‘Nowhere’

June 26, 2019

Salish Sea Science

January 23, 2019

Cherry Point Amendments

January 16, 2019

Thursday
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Choose from 22 varieties of apples located on 62 acres at U-pick events taking place from 10am-5pm Wednesdays through Sundays at Bellewood Farms, 6140 Guide Meridian. Free apple bin train…

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Through Sept. 23, the Good Time Girls will lead free “Bellinghistory” tours at 6pm Wednesday in Fairhaven, and 6pm Thursday in downtown Bellingham. The Wednesday tour will highlight the…

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Red Elvises will perform at 8:30pm Wed., Sept. 15 at the Shakedown, 1212 N. State St. The show will be followed by a number of other gigs this month—including Fossil Fire, Island Gigantism,…

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“Future Artifacts” shows from 10am-5pm daily through Oct. 10 in La Conner at the Museum of Northwest Art, 121 S. First St. The exhibit features work by Lummi Nation glass artist Dan Friday,…

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11:00am

Stanwood-Camano Arts Guild’s “Art Aloft” Member Art Show can be viewed from 11am-5pm Wednesdays through Saturdays through Oct. 15 at A Guilded Gallery, 8700 271st St. NW.

Bowls to Fill at Good Earth

11:00am

“Bowls to Fill,” featuring members of Whatcom Artist of Clay & Kiln (WACK), will be featured from 11am-5pm daily through Saturdays, and 11am-4pm Sundays through September at Good Earth…

Whatcom Art Market

11:00am

Works by as many as 45 Whatcom Art Guild members can be viewed from 11am-5pm daily at Whatcom Art Market, 1103 11th St. Reka Zoltan’s wood cuts and etchings will be featured through Sept. 19.

Mindport Exhibits

11:00am

One-hour reservation slots are now open for household groups or pods of up to 10 people from 11am-6pm Tuesdays through Saturdays at Mindport Exhibits, 210 W. Holly St. In the months they were…

Fall Exhibits at Jansen Art Center

11:00am

View a “Fall Juried Show” in Lynden from 11am-7pm Tuesdays through Thursdays, and 11am-5pm Fridays and Saturdays at the Jansen Art Center, 321 Front St. Also on display are “From Then ‘Til…

Quilt Exhibits in La Conner

11:00am

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Catch longtime glass artist Steve Klein’s new exhibit “Discovery” from 11am-6pm daily (except Tuesdays) through September 26 in Mount Vernon at Perry and Carlson Gallery, 504 S. First…

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11:00am

View a Whatcom Artist Studio Tour Gallery Showcase from 11am-4pm Tuesdays through Saturdays through Sept. 25 at Allied Arts, 1418 Cornwall Ave. Presenting a wide range of media, the exhibit…

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12:00pm

Attend the second annual celebration of Fest beers, “Sunnylandfest,” from Thursday through Sunday in Bellingham’s Sunnyland neighborhood at Twin Sisters Brewing Company, Wander Brewing,…

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3:00pm

From 3pm-5pm, attend “Semiahmoo Sips” in Blaine at the wine cellar at Semiahmoo Resort, 9565 Semiahmoo Pkwy. A sommelier will pour samples of four different wines from a rotating menu while…

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3:00pm

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4:00pm

Youth in grades 4-6 can sign up for weekly “Tween Reads” discussions with Whatcom County Library System taking place from 4pm-5pm on Zoom. Whether you like graphic novels, fantasy, realistic…

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4:30pm

At 6:30pm, Lydia Place will host its annual auction and fundraiser, “Handbags for Housing.” General admission to the virtual event is free. VIP tickets are $125 and include early online…

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5:30pm

Listen in on Robert Sarazin Blake & Friends at a Happy Hour Concert Series taking place from 5:30pm-7pm Thursday at the beer garden at Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad Ave. From 8pm-11pm,…

Trackside Tunes

7:00pm

Felix the Hammer will perform from 7pm-8pm at Kulshan Trackside at Waypoint Park, 1145 Granary Ave. From 8:15pm-9:45pm, the Whags will take the stage. The group continues to gain notoriety…

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7:30pm

Another world premier by iDiOM Theater’s Playwright in Residence, Rosalind Reynolds, takes place this weekend when The Wingmaker shows at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday at the Sylvia…

Upfront Back in Front

7:30pm

Catch the Upfront Theatre’s long-running show “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” at 7:30pm Thursday at the Sylvia Center for the Arts, 207 Prospect St. At 7:30pm and 9:30pm Friday and…

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7:30pm

David Auburn’s Proof opens this week with showings at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday in Lynden at the Claire vg Thomas Theatre, 655 Front St. The drama tells the story of a…

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7:30pm

Michele Lowe’s The Smell of the Kill will continue this weekend with performances at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at the Bellingham Theatre Guild, 1600 H St. The dark…

Wild Buffalo Live Music Lineup

9:00pm

Episcool, Heirz, & Winzlo wukk will join BUKI for a 9pm show Thurs., Sept. 16 at the Wild Buffalo House of Music, 208 W. Holly St. Other upcoming highlights include the Red Not Chili Peppers…

Friday
Whatcom Water Week

9:30am

Celebrate our local water resources when Whatcom Water Week kicks off with a “Run With the Chums” event Saturday at the BP Highlands in Birch Bay. Events continue through Sept. 19 and include…

Fall Classes at BAAY

12:00pm

Starting Sept. 12, Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth will begin offering a variety of classes and shows for students ages 4-17. All classes are currently scheduled to take place in person at…

Paintings of My Life at Gallery Syre

11:00am

View Beth Anna Margolis’ “Paintings of My Life” from 11am-4pm Tuesdays through Saturdays through Oct. 23 at Gallery Syre, 465 W. Stuart Rd. The show features a selection of more than 60 works…

Eat Local Month

10:00am

Join Sustainable Connections for Eat Local Month through September as they support and share the work of local farmers, fishers, ranchers, chefs, restaurateurs and grocers in Whatcom, Skagit,…

U-pick at Bellewood Farms

10:00am

Choose from 22 varieties of apples located on 62 acres at U-pick events taking place from 10am-5pm Wednesdays through Sundays at Bellewood Farms, 6140 Guide Meridian. Free apple bin train…

Bellinghistory Tours with the Good Time Girls

6:00pm

Through Sept. 23, the Good Time Girls will lead free “Bellinghistory” tours at 6pm Wednesday in Fairhaven, and 6pm Thursday in downtown Bellingham. The Wednesday tour will highlight the…

Red Elvises and Beyond at Shakedown

8:30pm

Red Elvises will perform at 8:30pm Wed., Sept. 15 at the Shakedown, 1212 N. State St. The show will be followed by a number of other gigs this month—including Fossil Fire, Island Gigantism,…

Future Artifacts at MoNA

10:00am

“Future Artifacts” shows from 10am-5pm daily through Oct. 10 in La Conner at the Museum of Northwest Art, 121 S. First St. The exhibit features work by Lummi Nation glass artist Dan Friday,…

Art Aloft Member Art Show

11:00am

Stanwood-Camano Arts Guild’s “Art Aloft” Member Art Show can be viewed from 11am-5pm Wednesdays through Saturdays through Oct. 15 at A Guilded Gallery, 8700 271st St. NW.

Bowls to Fill at Good Earth

11:00am

“Bowls to Fill,” featuring members of Whatcom Artist of Clay & Kiln (WACK), will be featured from 11am-5pm daily through Saturdays, and 11am-4pm Sundays through September at Good Earth…

Whatcom Art Market

11:00am

Works by as many as 45 Whatcom Art Guild members can be viewed from 11am-5pm daily at Whatcom Art Market, 1103 11th St. Reka Zoltan’s wood cuts and etchings will be featured through Sept. 19.

Mindport Exhibits

11:00am

One-hour reservation slots are now open for household groups or pods of up to 10 people from 11am-6pm Tuesdays through Saturdays at Mindport Exhibits, 210 W. Holly St. In the months they were…

Fall Exhibits at Jansen Art Center

11:00am

View a “Fall Juried Show” in Lynden from 11am-7pm Tuesdays through Thursdays, and 11am-5pm Fridays and Saturdays at the Jansen Art Center, 321 Front St. Also on display are “From Then ‘Til…

Quilt Exhibits in La Conner

11:00am

From 11am-5pm Wednesday through Sunday, visit La Conner’s Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, 703 S. Second St. Currently on display are “Yoshiko’s Folly: Shirbori Hats by Fine…

Discovery

11:00am

Catch longtime glass artist Steve Klein’s new exhibit “Discovery” from 11am-6pm daily (except Tuesdays) through September 26 in Mount Vernon at Perry and Carlson Gallery, 504 S. First…

Whatcom Artist Studio Tour Gallery Showcase

11:00am

View a Whatcom Artist Studio Tour Gallery Showcase from 11am-4pm Tuesdays through Saturdays through Sept. 25 at Allied Arts, 1418 Cornwall Ave. Presenting a wide range of media, the exhibit…

Anne Martin McCool at Scott Milo

11:00am

Acrylics by Anne Martin McCool will be featured from 11am-5pm Tuesdays through Saturdays through Sept. 28 in Anacortes at the Scott Milo Gallery, 420 Commercial Ave. Mixed-media works by…

An Artist's Universe at Hotel Bellwether

12:00pm

View painter and mixed-media master David Syre’s latest installation, “An Artist’s Universe,” hanging throughout the corridors, lobby and dining room of Hotel Bellwether and the Lighthouse…

Sunnylandfest

12:00pm

Attend the second annual celebration of Fest beers, “Sunnylandfest,” from Thursday through Sunday in Bellingham’s Sunnyland neighborhood at Twin Sisters Brewing Company, Wander Brewing,…

Semiahmoo Sips

3:00pm

From 3pm-5pm, attend “Semiahmoo Sips” in Blaine at the wine cellar at Semiahmoo Resort, 9565 Semiahmoo Pkwy. A sommelier will pour samples of four different wines from a rotating menu while…

Whatcom Teen Writers

3:00pm

Students in grades 6-12 can join Whatcom County Library System for “Whatcom Teen Writers” discussions taking place from 3pm-4pm on Zoom. Hone your craft, practice creative exercises, share…

What We're Reading Book Club

4:00pm

From 4pm-5pm, Deming Library staff member Erin Suda will host a virtual What We’re Reading Book Club meeting on Zoom. The club is for folks who love to share books they’ve enjoyed and hear…

Tween Reads

4:00pm

Youth in grades 4-6 can sign up for weekly “Tween Reads” discussions with Whatcom County Library System taking place from 4pm-5pm on Zoom. Whether you like graphic novels, fantasy, realistic…

Virtual Handbags for Housing

4:30pm

At 6:30pm, Lydia Place will host its annual auction and fundraiser, “Handbags for Housing.” General admission to the virtual event is free. VIP tickets are $125 and include early online…

Boundary Bay Music

5:30pm

Listen in on Robert Sarazin Blake & Friends at a Happy Hour Concert Series taking place from 5:30pm-7pm Thursday at the beer garden at Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad Ave. From 8pm-11pm,…

Trackside Tunes

7:00pm

Felix the Hammer will perform from 7pm-8pm at Kulshan Trackside at Waypoint Park, 1145 Granary Ave. From 8:15pm-9:45pm, the Whags will take the stage. The group continues to gain notoriety…

The Wingmaker

7:30pm

Another world premier by iDiOM Theater’s Playwright in Residence, Rosalind Reynolds, takes place this weekend when The Wingmaker shows at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday at the Sylvia…

Upfront Back in Front

7:30pm

Catch the Upfront Theatre’s long-running show “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” at 7:30pm Thursday at the Sylvia Center for the Arts, 207 Prospect St. At 7:30pm and 9:30pm Friday and…

Proof

7:30pm

David Auburn’s Proof opens this week with showings at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday in Lynden at the Claire vg Thomas Theatre, 655 Front St. The drama tells the story of a…

The Smell of the Kill

7:30pm

Michele Lowe’s The Smell of the Kill will continue this weekend with performances at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at the Bellingham Theatre Guild, 1600 H St. The dark…

Wild Buffalo Live Music Lineup

9:00pm

Episcool, Heirz, & Winzlo wukk will join BUKI for a 9pm show Thurs., Sept. 16 at the Wild Buffalo House of Music, 208 W. Holly St. Other upcoming highlights include the Red Not Chili Peppers…