Office of Equity
The Department of Commerce, in partnership with the Office of Equity and community partners, is building a plan to describe how funds will be invested to address racial, economic, and social disparities in communities across the state created by the historical design and enforcement of state and federal criminal laws and penalties for drug possession. These dollars will be distributed by the Department of Commerce as $100 million in fiscal year 2024 and $100 million in fiscal year 2025.
COMMERCE hired a consulting group to develop a plan and engage in consultation and facilitation, stakeholder engagement and empowerment, and primary and secondary research and analysis. At a minimum, the plan must address how the community reinvestment account funding will:
● Produce significant long-term economic benefits
● Not require continuing state support
● Not supplant private investment
● Accompany additional public or private investment
● Prioritize nonprofit, faith-based, and grassroots organizations for funding
Wealth disparities and race in Washington as they relate to entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and access to financial tools.
Differences in homeownership rates by race in Washington, and how those rates have changed over time.
The need for civil and criminal legal assistance to provide post-conviction relief and case assistance to those who are eligible for relief expungement/vacation of criminal convictions.
The need for community-based violence intervention and prevention services,
with an emphasis on youth development activities, and the geographic areas
and demographic groups in the state where services are most needed.
The need for community-based reentry services to facilitate successful transitions for persons formerly incarcerated, and the geographic areas and demographic groups in the state where services are most needed.
Racial disparities as they relate to differences in access to civil and criminal legal assistance, particularly for persons convicted of crimes due to the criminalization of drugs.
Economic development, which includes addressing wealth disparities to promote asset building such as home ownership and expanding access to financial resources.
Civil and criminal legal assistance to provide post-conviction relief and case assistance, including the expungement of criminal records and vacation of criminal convictions.
Community-based violence intervention and prevention services. Supporting safe communities that are free of fear and where family and social bonds are strong.
Reentry services to facilitate successful transitions for persons formerly incarcerated in an adult correctional facility or juvenile residential facility in Washington.
Map of the geographic locations of high levels of violent crime, excessive incarceration, and economic disinvestment.
In collaboration with COMMERCE and the Office of Equity, we will gather data and findings from key stakeholders.
Outreach and collaboration with Black, LatinX, Native American, and other communities of color.
Small group sessions with focus groups and regional stakeholder meetings to share information and gather input.
A project steering committee including those who are currently and previously justice-involved to inform the project.
Community participatory researchers with lived experience to conduct original research with community.
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