By Josh Kelety
Participants in Spokane’s Community Court — an alternative court model where defendants accused of low-level misdemeanors are connected with services instead of jails — are less likely to reoffend, according to a new study. First launched in 2013, Spokane’s Community Court operates out of the downtown public library — officials have since launched an identical program at the Northeast Community Center — and serves defendants cited for nonviolent misdemeanors in the downtown core such as trespassing. Instead of getting booked into jail, defendants who opt into the program do community service and are connected to services that are co-located at the court, such as affordable housing, and addiction and mental health treatment providers. The program also accepts walk-in clients who want to access services.