How will OCA’s Audit Impact SMC Probation?

SQ Attorneys

SQ Attorneys

Recently the Office of the City Auditor (‘OCA‘) reviewed the Seattle Municipal Court (‘SMC‘) Probation Department, which was developed to be a post-adjudication jail alternative. The probation department consists of counselors that are paired with clients (previously identified as ‘defendants’) in an effort to help them navigate their court ordered obligations.

What came of OCA’s audit was a total of 14 recommendations. The probation department was redesigned based on stakeholder feedback in 2020. The ultimate goal was to eliminate any foreseen disproportionate impacts on ‘court clients’, to include creating racial and ethnic equality.

Since 2020 SMC has made some drastic changes, including: (1) discontinued records checks; (2) focus probation services on high-risk case types; (3) reduced probation fees; (4) incentivized early release from probation; (5) new case closure policy when sentencing terms met; (6) the creation of a client bill of rights and grievance process; (7) collection of racial and ethnic data.

SMC plans working on implementing the remedies suggested by the OCA. It hopes to implement a new information technology system in 2022. The new system will monitor and report on SMC probation outcomes. The current system is 30 years old and is clearly outdated for the times. The hope is to modernize the process and thereby make SMC’s probation services more client friendly and less stigmatizing, especially for certain racial and ethnic groups. Equality and client success is the ultimate goal.

If you or a loved one is facing probation don’t hesitate to hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyer. The Seattle Criminal Defense Attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle criminal attorneys that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested or criminally charged all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case. So, whether you are cited with an infraction or arrested and/or charged with misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or a felony, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900.

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