What Will it Take to Reduce Jail Over Crowding?


February 22, 2017

What Will it Take to Reduce Jail Over Crowding?

A large population of our over-crowded jail consists of people with behavioral problems.  Are there better solutions for this group?  Are we ready to serve our mentally ill population in a different way?  Our speakers explore new funding proposals from the governor and the progress our local Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force is making as they seek alternatives to jail time.

Dr. Robert Crittenden, the Governors Special Assistant for Health Reform Implementation, was on the faculty of the University of Washington Schools of Public Health and Medicine and a family physician serving urban underserved people. He has worked for the state legislature; was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow with Senator George Mitchell, was special assistant to Governor Gardner for health, working on a wide range of issues such as expansion of Medicaid, the Department of Health, and the 1993 health reform law. He has head up the Herndon Alliance for eight years focusing on communications and coordination in support of passage and implementation of the ACA.

Jill Bernstein,  Co-Chair of the Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force,  has been a lawyer since 1978—she joined the Public Defender’s office in 1982 and remained as a defense lawyer in public and private practice until retirement in 2010.  She served as president of the WA Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and just received the Pemberton Award from Law Advocates for her life time commitment to justice. She is a past president of the League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County.

Moderator, Anne Deacon serves as Whatcom County’s Human Services Manager.  She is licensed as an Independent Clinical Social Worker and has over 40 years of experience working in the field of behavioral health.  Her past roles include managing the state prison for offenders with mental illness, directing outpatient and residential clinics for mental health and substance use disorder treatment, and administering human service programs at a state and local level.