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By Lucas Walsh
Cheney Free Press 

Cheney Community Court shares updates

Grants, stakeholders, and community partners


Last updated 1/26/2023 at 4:14pm

CHENEY - Cheney Community Court released an update detailing its grant funding numbers, community partners, and stakeholders, Jan. 19.

The community court is a deferral program for offenders who come into contact with the legal system, and is meant to reduce recidivism overall and increase positive outcomes for individuals and communities.

“The program for an individual will be built based on the offer from the prosecutor.” April Bassen, Deputy Clerk of Cheney Municipal Court, said.

When a case is filed, the prosecutor will perform fact finding which determines an individual’s eligibility for the community court. This assessment includes a review of the charges and any criminal history.

“The first step when someone comes in for court is actually a needs-based assessment that determines the situation of that person.”

This needs based assessment determines several things about an individual’s circumstances, such as living situation, income, etc.

A sample timeline given during the presentation begins on day one with the charges filed, and proceeds through the arraignment process and a 45-day time period in which the individual is progressively assessed.

“It’s a way to hopefully get to the root issue of why a person is involved with the legal system in the first place.” Bassen said.

The presentation also displayed the current stakeholders, who are parties which advise or provide feedback for community court process.

“Anybody who can give input or provide support concerning ideas and modalities, really.” Bassen said. From the perspective of the stakeholders and project directors, data seem to indicate that recidivism is not being addressed properly by the general courts.

“This is even though Cheney actually operates its courts on a therapeutic model.” Bassen said. “This program will hopefully enable us to be more hands on and more focused on those that enter the community court program.” Bassen said.

The first participant opted into the program back in November of 2022.

“We have received grant money from the state totaling $340,000.” Bassen said.

This will be used for equipment, software, case management support, and several resources which could be provided to participants; such as food, housing, treatment, and transportation.

“We’ve been building this program for over a year. We are partnered with Cheney Outreach, for example, to provide food for individuals that may have those needs.” Bassen said.

There are several partnerships which the court is working to provide a more comprehensive model to not only “see that justice is served” according to Bassen, but that recidivism is reduced.

Author Bio

Lucas Walsh, Managing Editor

Lucas is the managing editor at the Cheney Free Press. He is a nationally published author who contributes regularly to several publications across the country and abroad.

Phone: 509-235-6184


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