Under the Seeking Justice initiative, Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney Jon Tunheim has prioritized criminal justice reform, modernized practices, and compassionate prosecution. The initiative strives to ensure a fair, just, compassionate, and cost-effective justice system and a community where public safety and accountability are upheld. By building on successes, our office is working to increase diversion options, reduce the use of incarceration for nonviolent offenses, reduce racial disparity, and increase transparency.
Compassionate prosecution supports the belief that with support and resources people are capable of change. It’s a trauma-informed, person-centered approach to prosecution that emphasizes empathy and includes both victims and defendants.
The criminal justice system is accountable to the expectations of the community it serves. It must protect all members of the public through an objective, fair and reasonable approach to maintaining accountability to the rule of law. As community expectations evolve, our office is also working to modernize and embrace the changing role of the prosecutor.
In 2020, the impacts of COVID-19 forced the Thurston County justice system to adapt and rely on innovation and creativity to continue to serve the community through the pandemic. We see this new normal as an opportunity to employ new strategies and technology-based solutions.
Modernized prosecution goals include increasing diversion options, reducing the use of incarceration for nonviolent offenses, reducing the use of money bail in pretrial release, and scrutinizing the role prosecutors play in racial disparity. We see opportunities to explore referral process reform, the use of Risk-Need-Responsivity principles, and increased transparency through data review and information sharing.