Prosecutor and District Court launch ESJ teams

PAO ESJ Team

The PAO ESJ Team: (from left) Monique Cohen, Stephan Thomas, Jina Kim, Carla Lee, Leesa Manion, Jo Anne Fox, A.J. Greysmith, Dee Sylve, Stephanie Sato, MacKenzie Brown, Heidi Parkington-Thal. Not pictured are Kim Padrow and Karissa Taylor.

Agencies across King County are stepping up to help implement the Equity and Social Justice (ESJ) Strategic Plan. Most recently, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and District Court launched ESJ committees to further the goal of using ESJ values to guide King County’s operations, programs and service delivery.

In February, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (PAO) formally launched its inaugural Equity and Social Justice Team. With representatives from all divisions, the team focuses on:

  • Providing training opportunities and equity-related events
  • Documenting and measuring the equity and social justice work already being done in the PAO
  • Integrating with County-wide ESJ goals and strategies.

In addition, the PAO ESJ team provides general ESJ-related information and opportunities for employees to learn and be engaged in equity and social justice in their internal weekly newsletter.

“A commitment to equity and social justice is fundamental to all we do at the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office,” said Dan Satterberg. “Our ESJ team will help us understand the language and process of incorporating the ESJ lens in our work as an office, in our interactions with the community we serve, and in our individual professional growth.”

Judge Marcine Anderson

Judge Marcine Anderson (left), KCDC-West Division presiding judge, and Lilian Hawkins, KCDC Court Coordinator, are both founding members of the District Court ESJ Sub-committee.

King County District Court also recently launched an ESJ team dedicated to furthering the mission of the ESJ Strategic Plan. After receiving an overwhelming response to a call for volunteers in January, District Court has formed a 24-member ESJ committee comprised of judges, managers and frontline staff, who will hold an official kick-off meeting this spring.

The ESJ team will build upon the ESJ work already underway in District Court. The agency is working with other municipalities to create a regional relicensing program to help individuals get their driver’s license back in order to remove the barrier of restrained mobility. In addition, the Court is looking into establishing a community court program, which may provide alternative solutions and resources to many in need. Instead of sending defendants to seek out services, the Court assists in bringing the services to the defendant. District Court will be undertaking a study during this year to determine the viability of this program.

“The courts are about making sure we’re providing access to justice for all people,” said Lillian Hawkins, court coordinator. “We’re really excited to be leading social justice through our work and everything we do.”