The Restorative CommUnity Coalition

~Reclaiming Lives Since 2006~

No More Jail

No More Whatcom County Jail

In this introductory video, local resident, business owner and father, Robert Leib, presents an overview of the many issues affecting our community due to current incarceration and jailing procedures, all of which would be greatly exacerbated if the proposed expanded jail facility in Whatcom County passes. Rob’s son and family was deeply affected by this system, a system that needs a significant overhaul in order to provide much needed counseling, mental health support, and rehabilitation. A system that should not be in the business of seeking profit at the expense of Whatcom County tax payers and our most vulnerable citizens.

A system that in no way should be expanded. Please vote NO to an expanded Whatcom County prison facility.  

No Jail Tax Debate #1 of 7 Intro with Joy Gilfilen

The Restorative Community Coalition decided to host a Town Hall discussion where professionals who studied the deeper sides of the jail situation could have the time to deliver a clear message about how the felt about the plan for the County to send the jail sales tax to the voters a 2nd time – when the Voters had already said NO in 2015.

Joy Gilfilen moderated the discussion so that Bellingham and Whatcom County residents could talk with these professionals about their confusion and the lack of solid fiscal accountability that was exposed the deeper we dug into the Executive Branch plan to continue to drive their jail plan to market.  They had no Needs Assessment, they held no full public hearings in so many phases of their planning process, they had purchased property at extraordinary high costs…all in their dogged determination to build a small county jail on 40 acres…why?  This is the Introductory comments to the evening – Part 1 of 7.

Scot Nichols, WWU Professor and Somatic Psychologist says NO

Scot Nichols is a Whatcom County resident, Somatic Psychologist, and Professor. Scot is a local therapist and teacher and also works closely with juvenile inmates. He offers his perspective on why he will be voting to REJECT Proposition 2017-6, and how we can change our current Jail System to better serve our citizens and community. “If we had any money to give, it would be in mental health. Let’s not keep these people in this cycle, let’s get them out … We have to break the paradigm that consequences create health.”

No Jail Tax Debate #2 of 7 – Juliette Daniels

Juliette Daniels speaks up as an Attorney at Law and author of a series of over 15 investigative articles about Whatcom County’s failures in planning related to the big government jail sales tax.  You can find her series of articles in called the Illusion of Inclusion series. Juliette is panelist #2 in the No More Jail Sales Tax Town Hall meeting hosted the Restorative Community Coalition to examine in depth the reasons for rejecting Proposition 2017-6 and the proposed jail tax increase.

Irene Morgan, Marnell Farley and Clint Lincoln Reject Proposition 2017-6

Active members of the Whatcom County say NO to the 2017 Jail Tax Vote – for their experience tells them it is a bad idea.  In this clip you will hear from Irene Morgan,  Marnell Farley, and Clint Lincoln all professionals in our community standing up for justice, for restorative justice, for improving mental health and alternative healing alternatives.  Why are we using corrections officers to do mental health services?  It makes no sense when there are clear and more affordable choices that can be implemented immediately.  Why is the jail not being fixed?  Mismanagement of the jail is not a good excuse to bring on more debt and hurt more people.  We can change the habit.



No Jail Tax Debate #3 of 7 with David Camp, CPA

David Camp, CPA analyzes the financial impact portion of the .2% Jail Sales Tax – and asks the question “Why Bankrupt Whatcom County…?

An article written by him of the same title can be searched on where he explains how he used all audited numbers to ensure that he is working with authoritative numbers, not speculation. This town hall was hosted by the Restorative Community Coalition for Bellingham and Whatcom County residents to show the reasons to reject Whatcom County Proposition 2017-6 and the proposed jail tax increase.  Link:

Juliette Daniels and Kristin Hanna, Lawyers – Reject Jail Sales Tax

Juliette Daniels (Lawyer and Journalist) and Kristin Hanna (Lawyer) offer their perspectives on the Whatcom County Jail System and why we should vote to REJECT Proposition 2017-6. Vote to end the expansion of this inhumane and wasteful system. Demand better alternatives. REJECT Prop 2017-6 and “stop the revolving door.”

No Jail Tax Debate #4 of 7 – Josh Cerreti, WWU Professor

Josh Cerreti, WWU history professor stands up for No More Jail Tax and why we want local justice reform now. He was the #4 Panelist speaking about why the uprising of mass incarceration is not normal for this area, and why it not to be accepted and why it is time for justice reform. Cerreti stands against Proposition 2017-6 – and rejects the .2% Jail Sales Tax. This panel was 7 segments hosted by Joy Gilfilen and the Restorative Community Coalition so that Bellingham and Whatcom County Residents could take apart the complex issues that lead to a strong opposition to Proposition 2017-6 and the proposed jail tax increase.

WC Council Member Ken Mann Rejects the Jail Tax AGAIN

Ken Mann explains why he thinks passing another sales tax to build a bigger jail is a bad idea.  He has changed his mind as he has learned more and more about options to do justice very differently.

No Jail Tax Debate #5 of 7 Rob Leib: Why does it Matter?

Rob Leib is standing up stands up for No More Jail Tax – we want Local Justice Reform Now. Rob is a businessman who has learned about the real price we pay when we ignore what is happening to the jail industry growth in our area, and how it impacts families and destroys lives. This town hall meeting was hosted by Joy Gilfilen and the Restorative Community Coalition for Bellingham and Whatcom County Residents to help people understand the deep opposition to Proposition 2017-6 and the proposed jail tax increase.

Council Members Challenging the Jail Tax

Thank you to Bellingham City Council President Michael Lilliquist, and Whatcom County Council Members Ken Mann, Todd Donovan, and Barry Buchanan for raising legitimate concerns and opposition to the New Jail Tax, Proposition 2017-6. We need vision and principle from our local leaders now, more than ever, as we work towards true criminal justice reform in our community. We can do better than this. Vote to REJECT Proposition 2017-6.

No Jail Tax Debate #6 of 7 Matt Kramer on Predatory Leadership

Matt Kramer worked inside the mass incarceration and private prison industry and has authored a book called Predatory Leadership. A mediator today, he understands the deep dysfunction of the predatory industry that promotes abuse, powerlessness and addiction on all levels. This panel is hosted by Joy Gilfilen and the Restorative Community Coalition for Bellingham and Whatcom County Residents to explain the complex issues behind the rejection of Proposition 2017-6 and the proposed jail tax increase.

Historical perspective on the Jail System – Josh Ceretti

Josh Ceretti discusses the 13th Amendment and economic servitude…and how this issue of public policy is driving the growth of jails, even when the crime rate itself is still going.  Cash bail doesn’t work – it should be abolished.  60% of the people in the Whatcom County are there on pre-trial because they can’t afford to pay to get out.  They are legally innocent.  People end up  warehoused in jail, and it takes people out of the productive sector of our economy.  It is important to do it differently.

It is not logical to put mental health facilities into the jail, and to build a bigger jail is an overbuild in a bloated system.  The results show this investment is a bad idea – for it is a failing industry.  Josh really explains the longer term costs around 9 minutes in.

No Jail Tax Debate #7 of 7 – Joy Gilfilen on Visionary Solutions

This is the closing section of the town hall that includes a wrap up to the panel…where Joy Gilfilen and the Restorative Community Coalition discusses with Bellingham and Whatcom County Residents the reasons they are standing up and rejecting Proposition 2017-6 and the proposed jail tax increase. Whatcom County Residents: Vote NO on Prop 2017-6

Bellingham City Council – Michael Lilliquist Expressing Resistance

City of Bellingham Council member Michael Lilliquist gives his personal testimonial about the fiscal agreements that the City of Bellingham had to work with;  and he expresses his clarity that the responsibility for sending this tax to the voters sits with the County Council.

Thank you Michael for speaking out and being clear about the business deception imbedded with this agreement.


Alarming costs – Jail: the largest capital expenditure

The Extraordinary Jail Land:  This video outlines some of the extraordinary costs of the 40 acres of “Jail Land” that was purchased by the County for about $150,000 an acre when other land in the same area was available at a third that cost.    The wetlands mitigation costs were to be another $10 million making the cost basis on the property about $500,000 an acre before build out.  No businessman in his right mind would have spent that kind of money for a jail.  Yet, the Whatcom County Council was urged to buy it on the recommendations of the Whatcom County Sheriff, the Whatcom County Executive, and supported by the Whatcom County Prosecutor.  They bought it without a Public Hearing before the Council.  Is this fiscally responsible?  Seems pretty irregular…

Barry Buchanan on Mental Illness, Cash Bail System, Reform

Whatcom County Councilmane Barry Buchanan speaks on the real reforms that should take place before we ever build a new jail. He and three other council members rejected the jail plans originally and voted no to it ever making it to the ballot. We hope this video serves as a reminder that there is a lot more than meets the eye with these issues, and mental illness is not a crime.  Unfortunately it was forced through the mill until it ultimately was sent back to the taxpayers in 2017 – and the voters had to vote it down for the second time.


King 5 News on Jail Tax – Comments by Joy Gilfilen

King 5 News did a segment on Whatcom County’s Plan to pass a Sales Tax, heavily endorsed by the Sheriff of Whatcom County; and strongly opposed by citizens who was restorative justice and justice system reform to be implemented first.


The Very Human Family Story: Why the Leib Family opposes the Jail Plan

In this video, you will meet Rob Leib, a local Whatcom County business owner, husband and father. He shares his story involving his mentally ill son, Connor, and the devastating toll the local prison system inflicted on Connor and the Leib family. We urge you to hear Rob’s story and oppose jail expansion in Whatcom County. We believe in humane alternatives to the prison industrial complex, not building more cages for more humans. Not only is jail expansion immoral, it is also a bad deal for Whatcom County tax payers.

It is a story of how mental illness becomes destructive to families, how things then go sideways when the jail and law enforcement get involved, and “the person gets pulled into the system and they never come back.  It is unacceptable that the system does not help people.”

Background Interviews and Video of Educational Events

JoyTalk Civic Conversation – Intro 2017

Joy Gilfilen – host of JoyTalk, speaks with Amy Malone, Clint Lincoln, Everett Barton and Irene Morgan about how we will be having civil civic conversations.

South Fork Law Radio Show with Irene Morgan re: RCC

Interview by Public Defender Jill Berstein, Radio Show host with Irene Morgan, founder of the RCC discussing its founding, why it matters, and how restorative justice works.


Pro-Jail Tax Videos from the Sheriff and the Safe Jail Now PAC

Public Safety Now: FIRE

The Whatcom County Public Safety Now group produced this video inside the Whatcom County Jail as they staged a potential fire during he 2015 effort to pass a jail tax.  Their words on their You Tube Channel admitted, “The Whatcom County Jail in Bellingham, Washington has serious fire safety issues. The Jail’s main fire detection system has been non-operational for years, and the facility has insufficient emergency exits in some of the housing areas of the jail.”

This was happening as they continued to overcrowd the jail in violation of state laws – when the officials had legal options to not house so many people.  They chose to keep the occupancy load high, even as the Sheriff simultaneously told people that the jail is inhumane. 

Public Safety Now: Alternatives

The Whatcom County Public Safety Now group produced this video  featuring the Honorable Charles R. Snyder, Judge of the Superior Court of Whatcom County.  They did this as part of their marketing campaign to pass the jail sales tax in 2015.

What is Whatcom County doing now for jail alternatives? A look inside the existing jail’s limited space for programs, shows why many programs could be held outside the jail to get better results.  It clearly is obvious that jail diversion, programs, and alternatives would be a good idea.

Public Safety Now Launch Event with Jail Promoter

The Whatcom County Public Safety Now group produced this video of their Public Safety launch event on May 10, 2012 featuring keynote speaker Penny Bartley, Director of the South Correctional Entity (SCORE). This is a portion of her presentation, comparing her experience of building a jail in south King County with the issues facing Whatcom County, Washington.

Note:  From the Coalition – notice the hype around getting a new jail built!  Also notice that just a few months ago, it was clearly noted at a conference that the SCORE facility is have challenges. If anyone has an update, please let us know what it is. 






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